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The Baal Shem Tov

In all that is in the world dwell holy sparks, no thing is empty of them. In the actions of men also, indeed even in the sins that a man does, dwell holy sparks of the Glory of God.
The Baal Shem Tov

Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov, or BeSHT ("Possessor of the Good Name" or "Master of the Divine Name") was born in the Ukraine in 1700 and died in Podolia in 1760. He was the founder of the Hassidic movement.  Although on the one hand rebelling against dry orthodoxy, by teaching that God is best served and worshipped through singing and dancing, he also accepted the redemptive cosmology of Lurianic Kabbalah, and taught meditations involving the "raising of the sparks".

The BeSHT's Hassidism was also, to a large extent, a reaction to and legitimization of the Sabbatian events of 1665-1666. Like Sabbatai Zevi, the BeSHT's had clear antinomian tendencies which were, however, unlike those of  Sabbatai, more acceptable to mainstream Judaism.

Pray continually for God's Glory that it may be redeemed from its exile
The Baal Shem Tov

(Meditations on the Raising of the Sparks)
by the Baal Shem Tov 
On The Holy Sparks and their Redemption
by the Baal_Shem_Tov. 
With commentary 
The Tikkun of Trivial Things
by Yakov Leib HaKohain
On Good and Evil
by the Baal Shem Tov. 
With commentary 
The Mystical Meditation of the Baal Shem Tov and Jung
With commentary 
Tikkunim for the Twenty-First Century
musings and meditations

Chabad Hassidism

A follower, a generation removed, of the Baal Shem Tov was the eighteenth century Polish Kabbalist Rabbi Schnuer Zalman, founder of the Chabad (named after the first letter of the three "intellectual" sefirot ­ Hokhmah, Binah, and Daat) or Lubavitcher (after the town of Lubavitch in Poland where it originated) sect of Hassidism.   The Lubavichers presently constitute the largest surviving sect of Hassidism.

Baal-Shem-Tov - short bio

more links to be added

more links to be added...

Book Instructions in Intercourse with God by The Baal Shem Tov (Martin Buber, Trans.). Horizon Press, 1958)

Book in Print The Legend of the Baal-Shem by Martin Buber, transl. by Maurice Friedman

Book in Print Founder of Hasidism : A Quest for the Historical Ba'Al Shem Tov by Moshe Rosman and Murray Jay Rosman

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content by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 23 October 1998, most recent update 28 April 2001