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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.

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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...