Friday, June 03, 2005

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The Truth about Kabbalah and The Baal Shem Tov

From this excellent article (click here)...

Here is the tzaddik's version, as he told it in the Baal Shem Tov's words:

[The words of The Baal Shem Tov, the Master of the Good Name...] On my sixteenth birthday, the eighteenth of Elul 5474 [1714], I was in a small village. The innkeeper was a Jew of quintessential simplicity. He knew his prayers only with difficulty--he had no idea what the words meant. But he had a great awe of heaven and for everything that would occur to him he would comment, "Blessed be He, and may He be blessed for ever and ever." The innkeeper's wife and partner had a different saying: "Blessed be His Holy Name".

On that day, I went to meditate in solitude in the pasture, as had been taught by the sages before us, that on one's birthday one should meditate alone for a period of time. In my meditations I recited Psalms and concentrated on the yichudim of the divine names.

("Yichudim" are a form of kabbalistic meditation based on different permutations and combinations of the divine names and attributes of G-d --trans.)

As I was immersed in this, I had lost awareness of my surroundings. Suddenly, I beheld Eliyahu (Elijah) the Prophet--and a smile was drawn over his lips. I was very amazed that I should merit a revelation of Eliyahu the Prophet while alone. When I was with the tzaddik (saint) Rabbi Meir, and also with others of the hidden tzaddikim (saints) I had the fortune to see Eliyahu the Prophet. But to be privileged to this while alone--this was the very first time and I was very amazed. Understandably, I was unable to interpret the smile on Eliyahu's face.

And this is what he said to me:

"Behold, you are struggling with great effort to focus your mind upon the divine names that extend from the verses of psalms that Dovid, King of Israel composed. But Aaron Shlomo the innkeeper and Zlota his wife are so ignorant of the yichudim of divine names that extend from "Blessed be He, and may He be blessed for ever and ever" that the innkeeper recites and "Blessed be His Holy Name" that she recites--yet these yichudim make a storm throughout all the worlds far beyond the yichudim of Divine Names that the great tzaddikim can create."

Then, Eliyahu the Prophet told me about the pleasure G-d takes, so to speak, from the praise and thanksgiving of the men, women and children who praise Him--especially when the praise and thanks comes from simple people, and most specifically when it is ongoing, continual praise--for then they are continuously bonded with G-d, blessed be He, with pure faith and sincerity of heart.

From that time on I took upon myself a path in the service of G-d to bring men, women and children to say words of praise to G-d. I would always ask them about their health, the health of their children, about their material welfare--and they would answer me with different words of praise for the Holy One, blessed be He--each one in his or her own way.

For several years I did this myself, and at one of the gatherings of the hidden tzaddikim they all accepted this path...

Wow! The excellent article explains how/why Kabbalah is the 'soul' of Judaism, and the Baal Shem Tov's direction.

Read the whole thing, click here!

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