Stories of the Baal Shem Tov

No sage since Biblical times is more known than Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov as an incredible miracle worker. Read some amazing stories about the feats of the founder of the chassidic movement.

Once exceptionally wealthy, Avigdor was now poverty-stricken. Mr. Tzaddok, once a pauper, had come into great wealth.
Baal Shem Tov's 16th Birthday
When the man saw me he asked: "What is a small child doing all alone in the forest? Are you not afraid to be in the forest all by yourself?"
G-d's Nourishment
Dressed in the clothes of a simple wayfarer, the Baal Shem Tov would travel from town to town and from hamlet to hamlet, asking questions
Pushcart Prophet
"No, no," came the impatient reply from within. "Everything is in perfect condition. There's no need for any repairs"
The Master Key
Finally, the great moment arrived. It was the morning of Rosh Hashanah, and Rabbi Ze’ev stood on the reading platform in the center of the Baal Shem Tov’s synagogue amidst the Torah scrolls, surrounded by a sea of tallit-draped bodies.
A Bundle of Greens
One day, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov arrived in Tarnow. This was before the chassidic master had revealed himself to the world, and he appeared as a simple itinerant, but with a gift for telling stories . . .
The Popular Names of the Town's Kids
As they walked, they came across a group of children playing in the sand. The Baal Shem Tov went over to them and said to the nearest one, “What is your name?”
The Ladder
Their leader spotted a beautiful bird perched atop a tall tree. "Come," he said to his disciples, "I wish to capture this bird, so that we may delight in her song and gaze upon her wondrous hues"
The Man Who Crossed the River with a Kerchief
"Perhaps I can help you," said the Baal Shem Tov. On small slips of paper he wrote, in simple Yiddish, "morning prayers," "addition for Mondays and Thursdays," "for Shabbat," and inserted them in the innkeeper's siddur
A Pound of Candles
The young prodigy overheard the exchange between the rabbi and the wagon driver. He could scarcely believe his ears. A pound of candles to atone for violating the holy Shabbat?
The Baal Shem Tov's Previous Life
Late one night, there was a knock on his door. On his threshold stood an old man with a long white beard and a countenance as radiant as the heavens
The Singing Heart
The Baal Shem Tov told them to shut their eyes and not open them until he tells them to. Then he placed his right hand on the shoulder of the disciple to his right, and his left on the disciple sitting there. The circle was closed . . .
Herschel Goat
“When I was a young man of twenty,” the Baal Shem Tov began his story, “shortly after being accepted in the society of hidden tzaddikim, several of us came to the city of Brody . . .”
The Dancing Jews
The Baal Shem Tov was once asked: "Why do Chassidim burst into song and dance at the slightest provocation? Is this the behavior of a sane person?"
The Two-Way Mouth
The Baal Shem Tov did not tell them where to go, nor did they ask; they allowed divine providence to direct their wagon where it may, confident that the purpose of their trip would be revealed in due time.
Burning Ice
The Baal Shem Tov loved light. So his disciples always made sure to have many candles burning whenever they expected their master...
The Shepherd
The Baal Shem Tov was once shown from heaven that a certain simple man called Moshe the Shepherd served G‑d, blessed be He, better than he did . . .
A Whisper in Time
As the procession approached the location for the chupah they were encountered by a solitary Jew in a wagon, a stranger that no one recognized....
The Mysterious Journey to Leipzig
A tall thin man, wrapped in a black cloak, suddenly appeared at the open door. He looked silently around the room, walked to a corner and just stood there, staring at the Baal Shem Tov
Hidden and Revealed
The holy beggar's face was transformed. His eyes began to glow with a divine light, and his coarse features assumed a sublime grace...
The Reincarnated Prince
For two hours every day he would lock himself in his room and no one, not even the King himself, was allowed to enter or disturb him in any way. It was on this condition that he accepted the task of teaching the prince...
The Baal Shem Tov in Heaven
It was the first book, and at that time the only one, that contained the teachings of the holy Baal Shem Tov, and now the opponents of Chassidism were plotting to destroy it . . .
The Old Man on the Island
“Remember, Reb Ze’ev,” were the Baal Shem Tov’s parting words to him, “one must know how to properly answer a question. Weigh your words carefully before you speak . . .”
The Ruin in the Forest
Following the Baal Shem Tov’s directions, Rabbi Chaim led Moshe Meshel and the coach driver to a clearing among the trees that seemed to be a ruin of some sort, with the remnants of a number of buildings . . .
Beyond Paradise
Word resounded throughout the supernal worlds: "Because Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov has forced the hand of heaven to overturn the laws of nature, he has forfeited his portion in the World to Come"
The Wandering Storyteller
To each of his disciples Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov revealed his task in life, and one, who is the hero of our story, he instructed to become a wandering storyteller. “You will know when your mission is achieved,” the Besht added.
The Purim Song
Suddenly, the rebbe gave an order to turn around and stop at the inn. His students were surprised. What could they possibly do in the company of drunken peasants?
Because of a Pinch of Snuff
Reb Yaakov tried not to remember, but suddenly the scene was there in his memory, clear as day. He didn’t want that bum to get too close. He looked disgusting. Besides, he was in the middle of a conversation with his friends . . .
Daily Judgment
The Baal Shem Tov led the young Talmudist to the window. A water-carrier was passing by, with a pole across his back and a pail of water tied at each end. “Come, let’s go speak with him,” said the chassidic master.
The Baal Shem Tov's
“Fundraising for bribes?” objected Rabbi Baruch. “Surely the matter can be dealt with in a more elevated way. Could you not teach our Jews the ‘echad’ of my holy grandfather?”
The Baal Shem Tov
Rabbi Sholom Ber Wineberg, director of Chabad of Kansas and Missouri, ably tells captivating stories of the holy Baal Shem Tov, that fascinate and inspire.
The Fat Jew
One day, it was revealed to Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov that he had merited that a great soul would be his "roommate" and partner in the World To Come...
A Tale of Two Cows
Many of the Baal Shem Tov's ways seemed strange to an outsider, but his disciples knew that in the end -- even if it took years -- all would be understood
Pockets Full of Faith
“We have many stories showing us the Baal Shem Tov’s power to perform miracles,” Rabbi DovBer pronounced. “For that, we don’t need this story . . .”
The Prayers in the Field
As soon as the holy day was over, the man rode into Mezhibuzh, despondent and heartbroken. But the Baal Shem greeted him full of joy
The Wheel of Life
The visitor lost no time in explaining to the Baal Shem Tov that he had no special needs or problems which required any intervention or blessing. “Perhaps you’d like to hear a story, then?” asked the chassidic master.
The Gartel
One time, Israel used the kabbalistic knowledge he had learned to cross the river Dniester
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
The Baal Shem Tov consoles a Russian general.
Baruch Hashem
The Baal Shem Tov's disciples were puzzled. Why was the old water carrier so much happier all of a sudden, with his same pair of tattered boots and his same old pails of water?
Lag B'Omer Parade
The merit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai protects a community in danger.
A Deep Slumber
A Deep Slumber
The Baal Shem Tov turned to me and said, “Dovid! Stand up and testify to what you have seen!”
You Are All Wicked!
The produce continued to dry up, animals were dying, and still, not a single cloud could be spotted in the sky.
The Man King David Took to Court
When Berel heard that there would be a celebration in honor of a new Torah, he naively assumed that he would be welcomed to the joyful event.
The Baal Shem Tov
Rabbi Israel, "Master of the Good Name" - a brief biography
The Baal Shem Tov and the Empty Glass