Sefer Baal Shem Tov
The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on the Torah
“And you will say, I will eat flesh.” (Re’eh 12:20)
The Talmud says: “Love compresses the flesh.”1 Meaning to say, love of G-d compresses and purifies the flesh, which is the body. It can also be said that love compresses and sweetens the flesh, which is Harsh Judgment; for the flesh comes from the side of Judgment, as is known.
Likutey Yikarim, p. 5c
1Bava Metziah 84a. The context of this statement is a discussion in the Talmud between a Roman matron and Rabbi Yishmael bar Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Elazar bar Rabbi Shimon, both of whom the Talmud describes as being extremely fat. The matron said to them, “Your children are not your own.” They answered, “Our wive’s stomachs are bigger than ours!” “All the more so!” she replied. “Love compresses the flesh,” they answered her.
Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.
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