DIVINE LIGHT

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 13th Elul, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 22.

After Shabbos, Reb Elimelech asked the cantor to tell him about the holiness of the Baal Shem Tov. The cantor told him about awesome things that no one had heard before. Primarily, he spoke of the Baal Shem Tov’s love and awe of G-d, and how he would perform soul ascensions to the spiritual worlds while fully conscious in this world. He would gaze into all the chambers of Torah and see the Divine Chariot. When the Baal Shem Tov would recite Hallel, he would not say a verse until he saw the angels who recited that particular verse and heard the exquisiteness of their song, and could recite the verse with them.

He related the awe-inspiring holiness of the Baal Shem Tov from the day of his birth. He described how he would speak to the souls of Tzaddikim, with Elijah the Prophet, and most often with the Arizal, who was constantly with him.

Once, the cantor related, the Baal Shem Tov asked the Arizal why he had openly taught mystical secrets of the Torah outside of the context of worship. The Arizal answered that if he had lived another two years, he would have taught the mystical secrets of the Torah in the context of prayer so that the G-dly sparks, still lost in the world would have been rectified.

The cantor spoke about how the Baal Shem Tov’s soul ascensions occurred while his body lay still, and how the Baal Shem Tov would speak to Moshiach1 and with our teacher Moses.

He talked about how the Baal Shem Tov was an expert in the “Work of Creation,”2 the “Work of the Chariot,”3 and in the entire Torah. He described how the Baal Shem Tov spoke the language of every creature and the language of the angels, and how he was filled with love and awe of G-d and all possible virtues of character, including piety, humility, and love of Israel.

Reb Elimelech commented that all the spiritual attainments attributed to the Arizal also applied to the Baal Shem Tov – perhaps even more so. He further said that that which is written about the Arizal is a drop in the ocean compared with the totality of who the Arizal really was.

The cantor also told Reb Elimelech that every Friday afternoon, during the Mincha prayer, tens of thousands of souls would gather around the Baal Shem Tov, and he would spiritually heal their soul and help them return to their source.
From the Manuscripts of Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Komarno

1Messiah;Direct descendant of King David;King and Ruler of the Jewish people during the Messianic Age
2Kabbalistic doctrine
3Kabbalistic doctrine

Translation and Commentary by Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 5th Elul, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 21.

Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Komarno (1766-1834) said that my teacher and father-in-law, Rabbi Avraham Mordechai of Finshtov, had told him that one of the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov asked the Rebbe, “What will be my livelihood?”

The Baal Shem Tov responded, “You will be a cantor.” The surprised disciple exclaimed, “But Rebbe, I can’t sing!”

The Baal Shem Tov replied, “I will bind you to the World of Melody.”

The man became the greatest cantor in the world. Once, this cantor came to Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizensk (A disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, 1717- 1787). An intense discussion ensued between the Rebbe and his son, the Tzaddik Reb Elazar, over whether or not to honor the cantor with leading the Kabbalas Shabbos service. Reb Elimelech was afraid that the cantor would disrupt him from the state of holiness he normally experienced during the Shabbos prayers.

Finally, they decided to honor the cantor and his two accompanists with leading the Kabbalas Shabbos service. Their decision was a result of their great awe of the Baal Shem Tov, for the cantor was known as “the Cantor of the Baal Shem Tov.” Out of respect for the Baal Shem Tov, they decided to honor him, and whatever would be, would be.

When the cantor and his two accompanists began to sing the prayers to welcome Shabbos, Reb Elimelech sent word that the second accompanist should stop singing, and only the cantor and the remaining accompanist should continue. Afterward, he ordered even the cantor and accompanist to stop, for he was afraid that he would be annihilated in the Divine light emanating from their singing.

“On subsequent Shabbosim, Reb Elimelech showed honor to the cantor, but because of his fear, he would not allow him to pray before the congregation.”
From the Manuscripts of Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Komarno

Translation and Commentary by Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT 19th Av 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 19th Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 19.

When the Baal Shem Tov first took up residence in Mezibush, several of the local rabbis opposed his teachings and his way of practicing Judaism. These same rabbis visited him during the holiday of Succos and told him that his succah was not built in accordance to Torah law. The Baal Shem Tov argued that his succah was kosher. Then, he rested his head in his hands for a few moments. When he lifted his head and opened his hands, he held a piece of parchment. On the parchment was written, “The succah of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov is kosher. Thus says Matat, the Prince of the Countenance.”

That parchment was inherited by the Baal Shem Tov’s grandson, the holy Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov. Whenever someone became ill, he would tell the family to place the parchment under the sick person’s head. The person would immediately recover.

This practice continued for two years. The parchment was put under the pillow of every sick person and he or she would immediately get better. During the entire two-year period, not one person in the city of Sudilkov passed away.

One day, they put the parchment under the head of a sick person, and it disappeared. Reb Moshe Chaim explained that it had been revealed to him that Heaven was not pleased with what he was doing, for all those born must eventually die. Therefore, he had prayed that the parchment be taken back.

I heard from honest people who heard directly from the Tzaddik Rabbi Yoskie, the grandson of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim, that he personally saw the parchment in his grandfather’s possession.
From a Letter of the Rabbi of Mezibush

Translation and Commentary by Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT 15th Av 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 15th Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 43.

Praying for G-d’s Sake

The Baal Shem Tov taught:

Prayers for physical needs, such as: “Heal us and we shall be healed,” “Bless us with a good year,” etc., are like [turning to] a father who longs to fulfill his son’s desires, and to make sure that he lacks nothing, even foolish things. For it is the nature of one who is good to do good.

G-d’s only thought is how to bestow material goodness to the Congregation of Israel, who are called His children. Prayer draws down sustenance and shefa into all the worlds, even material shefa, to satisfy G-d’s longing. Thus, prayers [on behalf of G-d] are accepted immediately. For heaven scrutinizes the prayers you pray for yourself, to see if they are worthy of being received. But when you pray for G-d’s sake, there is nothing to stop them.
Kedushas Levi, Likutim Shonim, p. 509

Translation and Commentary by Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT 10th Av 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 10th Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 19.

ONCE, the Baal Shem Tov was outside the city of Mezibush with his students, and the time for Mincha1 arrived. His disciples said to him, “Rebbe, there is no water to wash our hands for Mincha.” The Baal Shem Tov took his walking stick and struck the earth and a spring of water burst from the ground. It flows until today, near Mezibush, and is called the Baal Shem Tov’s well. The Baal Shem Tov did many miraculous acts, the likes of which had not been seen since the days of the Tannaim2, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai3 and Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa. All the miracles were as a result of his constant attachment to G·d.

1The afternoon prayer service
2Rabbinic Sages (700 CE-2000 CE)
3Author of Zohar 41st century 5Notzer Chesed, Chap. 6

Translation and Commentary by Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT 6th Av 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 6th Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 47.

Praying for G-d’s sake

The Baal Shem Tov taught:

Prayers for physical needs, such as: “Heal us and we shall be healed,” “Bless us with a good year,” etc., are like [turning to] a father who longs to fulfill his son’s desires, and to make sure that he lacks nothing, even foolish things. For it is the nature of one who is good to do good. G-d’s only thought is how to bestow material goodness to the Congregation of Israel, who are called His children.

Prayer draws down sustenance and shefa into all the worlds, even the material world to satisfy G-d’s longing to give to the Children of Israel. Thus, prayers [on behalf of G-d] are accepted immediately. For heaven scrutinizes the prayers you pray for yourself, to see if they are worthy of being received. But when you pray for G-d’s sake, there is nothing to stop them.
Kedushas Levi

Translation and Commentary by Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT 3rd Av 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 3rd Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 18.

The following story was told many times by the Alter Rebbe, who heard it from his Rebbe, the Mezritcher Maggid.

Once, the Baal Shem Tov was teaching the Chevraya Kadisha (his inner circle of followers) intimate secrets of the Torah that had never before been heard in this world before. These secrets could not even be found in any of the writings of the early mekubolim (Masters of Kabbalah) or even the Arizal.

And all the Baal Shem Tov’s disciples were Torah giants in their own right, especially the eminent Reb Dov Ber. Even before coming to the Baal Shem Tov, Reb Dov Ber was famous for having studied and reviewed every available book of Torah, both of revealed knowledge and mystical thought, one hundred and one times.

Upon this occasion, Reb Dov Ber heard previously unknown teachings about such deep concepts of Torah that they utterly confused him. As he thought about the Baal Shem Tov’s ability to transmit such teachings, he found it difficult to believe that a soul enclothed in flesh and blood could know such hidden thoughts, probably beyond even the grasp of the angels themselves. He was seized with the thought that the voice that spoke from the mouth of the Baal Shem Tov came directly from his disembodied soul. At the same time, several of the other disciples were so mesmerized by these teachings that they finally were compelled to touch the Baal Shem’s hand to see if it was tangible.
Niflaos Sipurim

Translation and Commentary by Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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