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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The HEART OF PRAYER 6th Av 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 6th Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

Section 2.14

The Baal Shem Tov taught:

The exile of the Divine Presence means that extraneous thoughts “ride” on your words.
Darchei Tzedek, part 1, 20

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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The HEART OF PRAYER 2nd Av 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 2nd Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

Section 3.1

The Baal Shem Tov taught:

Every word you say in the morning before prayer will influence your prayers. Be careful with every word you say [in the morning], for our Sages have prohibited even permissible words, such as greeting someone before prayer.1 For even that can cause a blemish. It is known that the world was created with thought, speech and action. The first level is thought, from which comes speech, and from there, action. When you awake each morning, you are a new creation, as the verse says: “They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23). If your first words are about mundane things (and all the more so, about something forbidden2), everything you say later will be influenced, even your prayers and Torah study. Because just as speech follows thought, so each word follows the previous word.

This reflects the Zohar3 and Arizal’s4 teaching that younger siblings must honor the firstborn.5 For the firstborn is like the main branch of a tree, whereas later siblings are like offshoots from that main branch. In our case, too, you must sanctify and purify your first words and thoughts and attach them to holiness, so that all subsequent words should follow them. Then, when you start to pray, joyful in the mitzvah of having sanctified your speech and thoughts, your words of prayer will surely be answered.
Kesser Shem Tov, 20b

1Berachos 14a.
2Such as profanity, gossip or slander.
3Zohar 3:83a.
4Acronym for Eloki Rabbi Yitzchak – Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534-1572)
5The Arizal writes that just as children are obligated to respect their parents, so must they respect their firstborn sibling. For the firstborn represents the initial creative act of the parents, from which all subsequent births draw their vitality. Thus, Jacob said about Reuben: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength. . . .” (Genesis 49:3).

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

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The HEART OF PRAYER 1st Av 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 1st Av, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

Section 3.6

Strengthen yourself before praying by first reciting psalms or studying Torah.

Strengthen yourself before praying so that you will, at least, have no foreign thoughts, and [ideally, will pray] with devekus. You can do this by first reciting psalms or studying Torah, and then pray amidst those words. This will give you presence of mind.1 On the other hand, for some people, saying a lot of Psalms or studying Torah decreases their ability to concentrate. Thus, it says: “One gives a lot and another a little, as long as a person’s heart is directed to heaven.” (Menachos 110a, Berachos 5b) – that is, as long as the person has the consciousness to pray, in which case, they are equal.
Unknown Chassidic Source

1 Literally, “Then he will have mohin – mentalities,” a kabbalistic term for states of consciousness: mohin d’gadlus, “expanded consciousness,” or mohin d’katnus, “constricted consciousness.”

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

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DIVINE LIGHT 29th Tammuz 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 29th Tammuz, 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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Sefer Baal Shem Tov 28th Tammuz, 5769

 

Sefer Baal Shem Tov

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on the Torah

“And Moses spoke to the tribal heads of the Israelites, saying: This is what G-d has commanded. (Concerning the principle that) when a person makes a vow to G-d, or makes an oath to prohibit himself (something the Torah permits), he must not break his word and must do all that he expressed verbally.” (Numbers 30:2-3)

This is what is written: “Better not to make a vow, than to make a vow and not complete it.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4). The Holy One says, be careful making vows, and do not break them, for all who breaks vows will eventually transgress oath.1 And one who transgresses oaths is considered to have denied G-d. There is no forgiveness for him, as it says: “You shall not take the name of the L-rd your G-d in vain; for G-d will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:6). And it is written: “If you will return to me, O Israel and will swear, ‘As the L-rd lives’..” (Jeremiah 4:1-3) . The Holy One said to Israel, “Do not think that it is permissible for you to swear, even in truth. You are not permitted to swear by My Name..”2

Our Sages enjoined us to say before each mitzvah: “For the sake of the union of the Holy One and His Shechinah..” This is alluded to in the verse: “This is the thing that G-d has commanded.” The matter is as follows.

King Solomon said: “Better not to make a vow.” But what type of individual is he addressing? If it is a person who does not plan on fulfilling his vow, it is obvious that he is forbidden to make it, for he transgresses a negative commandment and a positive one, as the Talmud says.3 And if it is a person who wants to fulfill his vow, why is it better for him not to make it? The Sages said: “How do we know that a person can vow to fulfill a mitzvah? From the verse: “I have sworn and I have fulfilled it, to observe Your righteous ordinances.” (Psalms 119:106). King David also said: “My vows to G-d I will fulfill.” (Psalms 116:14). And would David transgress this, G-d forbid?

Rather, with every mitzvah that a person performs, he fixes all the aspects of nefesh, ruach, and neshama, up until the highest point – the tip of the yud,4 which is hidden and concealed. If the commandment requires action, making that the lowest level of the commandment, a person must still fix speech and thought. If it involves speech, then that is the lowest aspect of the mitzvah, and he still must fix voice and thought.5

Now, when a person thinks about performing a mitzvah, he still has no fear of the accusation of the “shells,”6 for they have no attachment to thought. However, when he verbalizes [his intention] to do a mitzvah, then there are Accusing Forces to hinder the mitzvah, for the “shells” draw sustenance from the place of speech.7

Therefore, when a person wants to perform a mitzvah and must speak about doing it, making him concerned about the Accusers, our Sages enjoined him to say: “For the sake of the union of the Holy One and His Shechinah, in fear and in love, in love and in fear, to unite the Name Y-H and V-H by means of He who is hidden and concealed in the name of all Israel.” Then, he has created the Unification of the mitzvah on [the level of] speech, voice and thought, up above, to He who is hidden and concealed.8 Then he will not be afraid of the Accusers or obstacles to the mitzvah, nor from any selfish motivations [on his part], since he has uplifted all the vitality of the mitzvah, and lacks only the mitzvah’s performance, which is the last level. Consequently, the Accusers will lack all ability to stop him.

This is what the verse says: “When shall make a vow to the L-rd your G-d, you shall not be late in fulfilling it..” (Deuteronomy 23:22). This verse guarantees that when a person makes a Unification before performing a mitzvah (that is, “to the L-rd your G-d”9) he can be absolutely sure that he will not delay in fulfilling it since he did the Unification completely. This is why the verse says: “This is the thing..” alluding to the Unification. For “this” is Yesod and “the thing” (hadavar) is Malchus. “That G-d has commanded” means that G-d commands each person to say the Unification completely before performing a mitzvah. Therefore, “If a man makes a vow to G-d,” to do a mitzvah, he shouldn’t just say that he will do it, he should make the complete unification.

This explains what the Midrash said: “Better not to make a vow than to make a vow and not complete it.” That is, not to complete the Unification, but merely to state that one will do the mitzvah. Because then concern exists about the Accuser, and it would be better not to have vowed, not to say anything, only to think about doing the mitzvah, so that there is no worry about the Accusers. However, if a person can complete the Unification perfectly, it is certainly better. He will not have any fear of Accusers, and in fact, will receive help and support to complete the mitzvah.

This is what David said: “My vows to G-d I will fulfill.” This means that the vow will be with a complete Unification. For when the Unification is incomplete, it is called “breaking the vow,” which will lead him to transgress an oath. This in turn is an impediment to the mitzvah, which is a rectification of the seven attributes called “oaths.” Therefore, one must be careful to complete the Unification.
Devorim Nechmadim, Ginzei Yosef

1Taking an oath involves swearing on G-d’s Name. Thus, transgressing it is a more serious offense than breaking a vow.
2Yalkut Shimoni, Matos #284.
3Nedarim 3b.
4Although the Baal Shem Tov explicitly names the three lowest levels of the soul – nefesh, ruach, and neshama – he alludes here to still higher levels – the chaya and yechida. These five levels are alluded to in the four letters of the Tetragrammaton. The nefesh corresponds to the final hey, the ruach to the vav, the neshama to the first hey, the chaya to the yud, and the yechida to the small point at the top left of the yud.
5The Baal Shem Tov divides each mitzvah into three components. When the mitzvah is performed with speech, such as prayer or Torah study, then that is the lowest level. The two higher levels would then be voice (kol – undifferentiated sound) and thought.
6Kelipot – forces of impurity and evil that oppose the performance of a mitzvah, by claiming that a person is not worthy to do it.
7See Likutey Moharan I:38,2, on the verse: “Sin couches at the door” (Genesis 4:7), alluding to the “door” of the mouth.
8Apparently, by reciting this prayer, one unifies even a physical mitzvah on three upper levels. The actual performance of the mitzvah that follows is almost secondary, and can proceed with obstruction.
9The conjunction of the Divine Names “L- rd your G-d” – Y-H-V-H Elo-hecha – corresponds to the union of G-d and the Shechinah, described above.

Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT – 25th Tammuz, 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 18th Tammuz, 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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The HEART OF PRAYER – 25th Tammuz, 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 25th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

4.a(5) Every word, gesture, step and action of a person makes its mark Above.

The Baal Shem Tov taught:

A person’s many sins keep them from serving G-d. In their low state, they cannot believe that their prayers and Torah study draw Divine blessings into all the worlds, and that even the angels are nourished by their Torah and prayer. Were they to believe that, they would serve G-d with joy and fear, and would recite each letter and word of prayer properly. They would remember what it says: “When you lie between the sefasoyim (sheepfolds)” (Psalms 68:14); that is, G-d watches a person’s lips (sefasayim), and kisses them when they say words of Torah and prayer in reverence and love. Who would not be filled with fear and dread upon realizing that the great and awesome King watches the lips of even a person who is “despised and forsaken of men” (Isaiah 53:3)?

Our Sages have said: “The humility of Rabbi Zechariah caused the destruction of the Temple.” A person should realize that they are a “ladder standing upon the earth, with his head reaching Heaven” (Genesis 28:12), and that their every word, gesture, step and action makes its mark Above. Then, they will make sure that their deeds are all for the sake of G-d. But when they think, “Am I really significant enough to damage or repair that which is Above and below? Are all my deeds really recorded in heaven?” they will feel unaccountable for their actions, thoughts and speech saying, “I will have peace” (Deuteronomy 29:18). But this is not true; for through our good deeds, we actually cling to G-d. As it is written: “You shall go in His ways” (Deuteronomy 29:9). That is, our compassionate actions below arouse the attribute of compassion in all the worlds above.

Thus, I interpreted the phrase: “Know what is above from you,” as meaning “know that what is Above is from you yourself, from the various emotions that you feel.”
Toldos Yaakov Yosef, p. 181c-d

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

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The HEART OF PRAYER – 22nd Tammuz, 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 22nd Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

2.13 We only speak about physical desires because of our sins.

Why is the Divine Presence in exile? Because “with the word of G-d, the heavens were made” (Psalms 33:6). For you must speak for G-d’s sake alone — to arouse the Supernal speech which created the world and cause it to radiate throughout all the worlds. However, because of our sins, we speak only about is physical desires. Even our words of prayer and Torah are filled with foreign thoughts and self-interests. Thus speech is in exile.
Kisvei Kodesh, p. 22b

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

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Sefer Baal Shem Tov – 20th Tammuz, 5769

 

Sefer Baal Shem Tov

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on the Torah

‘Therefore say: Behold, I give him My covenant of peace.” (Numbers 25:12)

According to the Zohar and Likutey Torah, Nadav and Avihu were “two halves of a body.”1 Therefore, Pinchas took both their souls, so that they are considered as one. Thus, it is written: “Behold, I give him My covenant of peace,” for when two things are united, it is called peace. Thus, Yesod is called Peace, etc.,2 and “From my flesh, I will behold G-d.”3

Likewise, when there is division among people, the one who can unite them is called “a pursuer of peace.” The reason Nadav and Avihu sinned was because they did not ask each other’s advice [before entering the Holy of Holies]. As it says: “And Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer. . .” (Leviticus 10:1)4 There was no peace between them. But Pinchas rectified this when he was given the covenant of peace, in order to unite the souls of Nadav and Avihu in one body.
Toldos Yaakov Yosef, Acharei, p. 96d

1See Zohar 3:57b; Likutey Torah, parashas Vayikra, by the Arizal. Nadav and Avihu never married, thus the Zohar considers them as only half a person. When Pinchas smote Zimri and Kosbi during their illicit act, the souls of Nadav and Avihu united with his own.
2Yesod is the ninth Sefirah, from Keter down, and serves to unite the upper Sefiros with the tenth Sefirah of Malchus. Thus, it is called “Peace.”
3Job 19:26. Chasidic writings cite this verse often, to support the idea that the physical, emotional and mental constituents of a human being parallel and reflect the workings of the supernal Sefiros, through which G d directs the world. The Sefirah of Yesod corresponds to the male member, which is the organ of union. Yesod also corresponds to the Tzaddik, whose consciousness unites heaven and earth.
4 I.e. each one took it alone, without consulting the other.

Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT – 18th Tammuz, 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 18th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 17.

It is known that the Mezritcher Maggid thought that the Baal Shem Tov ate as an angel until one time he actually saw him eat as ordinary people do.
Or Hachochmo, Parshas Beshalach

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

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The HEART OF PRAYER – 17th Tammuz, 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 17th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

Section 4a(4)

G-d longs for the words of prayer.

In my distress I called upon the L-rd, and cried to my G-d; out of His temple He heard my voice, and my cry before Him came unto His ears. (Psalms 18:7)

Speech is called a “temple.” You should pray only for your words to come before -. Then, all the heavenly gatekeepers will leave you alone. For example, when a simple villager carries the king’s seal, though he is unfit to enter before the king, the guards rush him in. For the king longs for his seal, and they want him to delight in it quickly.

So too, G-d longs for the words [of prayer]. This is the meaning of: “from His Temple, He heard my voice” – that is, on account of the words of prayer.
Ohr Torah, Likutim, p. 54a

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

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Sefer Baal Shem Tov – 15th Tammuz, 5769

 

Sefer Baal Shem Tov

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on the Torah

And he took up his parable, and said: This is the word of Bilaam the son of Beor, and the saying of the man with the blinded eye. (Numbers 24:3)

. . . . . this is the saying of the man who sees well. (Targum Unkelos )

I heard in the name of the Baal Shem Tov the meaning of this Targum. The Midrash asks why G-d chose to rest His Presence on such a wicked Gentile as [Bilaam]? And it answers, so that the Gentile nations will not have any allegation [against G-d], saying “Had you given us prophets, we too would have improved our ways.”1

It is known, though, that the attainment of prophecy requires very great holiness. Now, a person has five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. These correspond to five spiritual senses, as it is written: “My heart has seen much wisdom” (Ecclesiastes 1:17), “You have given to Your servant a listening heart” (I Kings 3:9), “And he shall smell with the fear of G-d” (Isaiah 11:3).

And likewise with the other senses.2 When a person purifies and sanctifies his external [physical] sense, holiness rests upon his spiritual ones, and the spirit of prophecy descends upon him.

But the wicked Bilaam was the opposite of this. He defiled all of his physical senses, as our Rabbis said, that he practiced bestiality with his donkey.3 In addition, he was a necromancer, a diviner, a sorcerer, and a soothsayer. How was it possible for prophecy to have rested upon him? It was not possible! And yet, it was extremely necessary for him to become a prophet, so that the nations of the world could not have a claim [against G-d], “You rejected us!” But the matter was still very difficult, for there was no idea what could be done with him. What did G-d do? He blinded him in one of his eyes, and because he could not sin with that eye, holiness and prophecy rested upon it.

The Targum reveals this to us by translating “blinded eye” as “who sees well.” That is, because he was blind in one of his eyes, he was able to see well with prophetic vision. But had he not been blind in that eye, there would not have been any way for prophecy to rest upon him.
Koheles Yitzchok, Balak

1Midrash Rabbah, Balak. Cited in Rashi, Numbers 22:5
2See Midrash Rabbah, Koheles 1:36.
3Sanhedrin 105a.

Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore.

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DIVINE LIGHT – 11th Tammuz, 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 11th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 16.

The Maggid of Mezritch, successor to the Baal Shem Tov, was once asked for a favor by his disciple and successor, Reb Shneur Zalman, later known as the Alter Rebbe.1

“Ask what you will,” the Maggid said.

“I wish to know the essence of the Baal Shem Tov,” replied Reb Schneur Zalman.

“You have asked a difficult question,” the Maggid answered. “Had he lived during the era of the Tannaim, he would have been remarkable; had he lived in the period of the Prophets he would have been an innovation, while in the times of our Forefathers he would also have been significant.”

This anecdote was related by the Tzemach Tzedek. He went on to add that his grandfather, Rabbi Schneur Zalman, had continued, “If I had not heard this directly from my Rebbe (the Mezritcher Maggid), who knew the Baal Shem Tov from personal observation and experience, I would not have believed that the Baal Shem Tov had been born of a woman.”
Sipurei Baal Shem Tov

1Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1789-1866), the grandson of the Alter Rebbe and the third Rebbe of Chabad

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

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The HEART OF PRAYER – 10th Tammuz, 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 10th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

Section 4a(3)

“A prayer for a poor man when he enwraps himself and pours out his speech before G·d,”1 Shouldn’t the verse say, “a prayer from a poor man”? The Baal Shem Tov explained this with a parable.

There was once a great and compassionate king, who proclaimed that he would grant every request that was made of him. Some people asked for silver and gold, others for positions of authority. One wise man, however, asked to find grace in the king’s eyes and to be allowed to speak with him three times a day. The king was pleased with his wisdom, seeing that he preferred the king’s words to gold and silver, and so he decreed that whenever the man would enter his inner chamber to speak with him, he should be led past the king’s treasuries and be allowed to take whatever he wants.

Now, the king is best called a “poor man,” for he really has nothing: everything is under the supervision of his treasurer. Thus it says, “A prayer for a poor man.” Meaning, this person beseeches and prays to the King of Kings, the Poor One, that he should be allowed to speak to Him. “When he is enwrapped” means that in his request are enwrapped all the delights and treasures of the King of Kings, for he prays that he should be able speak to the Him himself. In this is everything.
Toldos Yaakov Yosef p. 178c

1Psalms 102:1

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

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DIVINE LIGHT – 10th Tammuz, 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 10th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 4.

The Holy Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin1 said, “We must believe all the stories, miracles, and wonders attributed to the Baal Shem Tov. We should believe that even if they didn’t happen, they could have happened.”
Imros Tahoros, p. 34

11784-1858

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

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The HEART OF PRAYER – 10th Tammuz, 5769

 

THE HEART OF PRAYER – 10th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

Section 3.5

Learning a passage of Zohar before each of the daily prayers.

The Baal Shem Tov instructed his disciples to learn a passage of Zohar before each of the daily prayers.
Likutey Torah, hadracha 7

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

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DIVINE LIGHT – 9th Tammuz, 5769

 

DIVINE LIGHT – 9th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Mystical Light of the Baal Shem Tov

Section 6.

The author of Toldos Yitzchak, Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Weisz of Neshchiz (1824-1894) said in the name of his father that not all of the miracle stories told about Tzaddikim are authentic, for many seem implausible. Not so are the stories of the Baal Shem Tov because even if the miracle attributed to him didn’t actually happen, the Baal Shem Tov could have done it.
Zichron Tov, p. 9b

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

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Source: The Baal Shem Tov Foundation

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HEART OF PRAYER – 9th Tammuz, 5769

 

HEART OF PRAYER – 9th Tammuz, 5769

The Baal Shem Tov Times

The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer

Section 3.6

Strengthen yourself before praying by first reciting psalms or studying Torah.

Strengthen yourself before praying so that you will, at least, have no foreign thoughts, and [ideally, will pray] with devekus. You can do this by first reciting psalms or studying Torah, and then pray amidst those words. This will give you presence of mind.1 On the other hand, for some people, saying a lot of Psalms or studying Torah decreases their ability to concentrate. Thus, it says: “One gives a lot and another a little, as long as a person’s heart is directed to heaven.” (Menachos 110a, Berachos 5b) – that is, as long as the person has the consciousness to pray, in which case, they are equal.
Unknown Chassidic Source

1 Literally, “Then he will have mohin – mentalities,” a kabbalistic term for states of consciousness: mohin d’gadlus, “expanded consciousness,” or mohin d’katnus, “constricted consciousness.”

Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore

Hassid bar

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I will greatly appreciate your donations to the Baal Shem Tov Foundation. All of the money they receive is used to operate their websites (www.BaalShemTov.com and www.Mezuzah.net), produce and distribute the weekly Baal Shem Tov Times, and translate original sources of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov including, Keser Shem Tov and Sefer Baal Shem Tov. Their future plans include rebuilding the Baal Shem Tov website, promoting the World Wide Mezuzah Campaign and offering a number of tele-classes about the life and teachings of the Baal Shem Tov.

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