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Every hundred years or so, a person comes along and changes the way we look at ourselves and our world. He or she will say something that is so revolutionary, so new and unexpected — so contrary to our previous conceptions — that it will at first seem impossible to be true. Yet it is corroborated by mathematical formulae and laboratory and clinical experiments, and eventually it is accepted as fact by everyone. Until the next revolutionary comes along.

But there is something else that is rarer still. Something that happens perhaps once in five hundred years, perhaps once in a thousand. What happens is that someone comes along and says something so revolutionary that it changes the way we look at ourselves and our world. But it is neither new, nor, in the final analysis, unexpected. For it is something that we already know, and always knew. Something that resonates deep inside us and requires no "proofs" to establish its authenticity. Something that is so much a part of our inner truth that our "search" for truth has blinded us to its knowledge — until now.

Just over 300 years ago, on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Elul of the year 5458 From Creation (1698 CE), the soul of such an individual was born into our world. His name was Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, and in the course of his 62 years of earthly life he revolutionized the way we see ourselves, our world, and our place in it.

And these are the things he taught:

That everything we do is meaningful. Our every deed, every word we speak, even a single thought we think, has an effect that reverberates throughout all the worlds and through the whole of history.

That everything that happens in G‑d's world, from the toppling of an empire to a leaf's turning in the wind in a distant forest, is for a purpose, specifically guided and directed by the Almighty — a purpose that contributes towards the overall purpose of creation.

That our simple faith, our simple commitment to do good, is more precious in G‑d's eyes than all the genius of the scholar and all the spirituality of the mystic.

That G‑d is everywhere and in every thing, meaning that in essence there is only goodness; evil, suffering and despair are but veils behind which He hides to prompt us to rip them away in our quest for Him.

That life is joyous, and we can live it joyously in every situation, under all and any circumstances.

That G‑d loves us, each and every one of us, as if he or she were His only child.

That the truest way to love G‑d is to love each and every one of His children.

When we look into our own souls, we know all this to be true. But the life of the human being is often not oriented to look into its own soul. That is why we need teachers — not so much to tell us what we don't know (though that kind of teaching has its uses, too), but to show us what we already know.

By Yanki Tauber; based on the teachings of the Rebbe.
Painting by Chassidic artist Zalman Kleinman.
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Asher Mordehay Australia August 11, 2016

I shall just add: Blessed be G-d forever and ever.
Even in spite of myself and the world of ages. Reply

Mary North Highlands March 20, 2015

The face of Me.. I see.. its so completely awesome to know and understand the me in the world.. To be able to contemplate just how much we are loved and even more that the awesomeness of our love can stir the heart of forever.. how very humbling it is to be me.. the me of us.. and that truly there is only one.. Reply

Rebecca Rubinstein Israel February 10, 2010

Revolution thank you for putting these ideas so concisely and for reminding us of the deepest home truths taught by the Baal Shem Tov. It is so true that the truth that resonates with the truth of our soul is what we need to reconnect with in this maze of a world that we live in. Reply

Anonymous January 25, 2009

A revolutionary article This article really gets to the holy essence of reality. Highly inspirational! Reply

Liddon Nairobi September 17, 2008

Revolution the short passage summarizing the teachings of this great Rebbe simply makes life so easy and meaningful.

its the entire philosophy of life Reply

Javier Spain September 16, 2008

Bereishis:4.6-7 It is already said by G-d;

"Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen?. Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, sin rest at the door. Its desire is toward you, yet yo can conquer it."

In one word the revolution is to be rigtheous as well as to discover this righteouness, by our teachers, inside us.

Nice. It teach us; Read your soul. Reply

Menucha Kalmanson mason, ohio September 11, 2006

thank you for the story/ies. i really enjoyed reading them. Reply

Anonymous September 21, 2005

Revolution Thank you for these wonderful words. I am posting them near my desk right now so I won't forget them. G-d bless. Reply

Eric S. Kingston September 8, 2005

The Baal Shem Tov saw that even evil longs to be one again. Maybe, if we listen carefully, we would hear the husks and shells saying, "we are the things that hold the material world together, but inside we hold light. Yet you struggle with the shell." Moses, peace with him, struck the shell of the rock, when G-d told him to address that which the rock contained within.

One day we will understand that, as Rabbi Akiba said, "the world is based on the Spirit and Water, for they were there from the beginning. 'the Spirit of the L-rd hovered over the Face of the Water', and then G-d said, "Let there be Light." Reply

Anonymous August 19, 2004

As a list I've read about all these truths... one author would write about one or two of them... another (and yet another) would do the same. But now, beginning with "And these are the things he taught:" I have all these truths together, in a list format.

Do you know what I kept repeating to myself, over and over after having read this? - ("Oh my G-d, thank You, thank You..." ).

Do you have any idea how many !!!!!!!!!!!!!!s I wanted to add after my words "in a list format " ?

Do you have any idea what a treasure this is, these truths in such a format?

I want to tell you a thousand thank you's, but I think one heartfelt one should do - and believe me, this one can't possibly be more heartfelt than it is.

Last, the writing in itself is beautiful. Reply

Learn about the life and teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the 18th century mystic who permanently changed the Jewish landscape.
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