Wednesday, May 25, 2005

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A Baal Shem Tov Story - Light

A Baal Shem Tov story. Many miraculous stories are told about the saintly Baal Shem Tov (literally the Master of the Good Name), who brought the path of hassidus, great insights into kabbalah, and hope to a generation of embattled Jews (teaching that every soul has a immeasurable and special value and every person should be treasured). Are all the miraculous stories the literal truth? Of course not. But could they be, with such a saintly man, literally yes...

Once before the Baal Shem Tov was expected to arrive, his students tried to prepare the room accordingly for their teacher. Well aware that the Rebbe was exceedingly fond of light, they were most distraught to find only a solitary candle in the room. They sought and searched for additional means of light, but to no avail.

The Baal Shem Tov entered the room and surveyed the gloom with displeasure. "Jews need light!" he exclaimed. "My entire goal in life is to bring light to fellow Jews!"

His students lowered their eyes in shame. "We couldn't find anything more than a single candle," they apologized.

"Go outside and snap off some icicles hanging from the roof," instructed the Baal Shem Tov. "Bring them inside and light them!"

His students rushed outside, grabbing the large icicles that hung on the sides of the roof. After bringing them inside, the students held a match to the icicles and watched in awed amazement as the frozen water caught flame and burned brightly!

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