Sunday, November 13, 2011


Baal Shem Tov Stories?

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths


(The “picture” of the Baal Shem Tov at the left is an old fake, produced by Shmuel Falk of London over 100 years ago.  No picture or painting of the Baal Shem Tov is known to exist.)

A reader sent me two Baal Shem Tov stories.  I’ve heard and read versions of these stories before though not exactly the same as she sent me.  It’s interesting to compare how these stories are sometimes presented or adjusted or change over time. 

Story #1:

(The sender wrote, I went to the synagogue library…and found a old rare book about the Baal Shem Tov that had this story…)

The Baal Shem Tov said: "Before the coming of Moshiach there will be great abundance in the world. The Jews will get rich. They will become accustomed to running their houses in the grand style and moderation will be cast to the winds. Then the lean years will come; want and a meager livelihood, and the world will be full of poverty. The Jews will not be able to satisfy their needs, grown beyond rhyme or reason. And then the labor which will bring forth the Messiah will begin."

Story #2:

(The sender wrote, I found this in Martin Buber’s Tales of Hassidim…)

Rabbi Mikal of Zlotchov told: “Once when the we were on a journey with our teacher, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the light of the Seven Days, he went into the woods to say the After Prayer. Suddenly we saw him strike his head against a tree and cry aloud. Later we asked him about it. He said: While I plunged into the holy spirit I saw that in the generations which precede the coming of the Messiah, the rabbis of the hasidim will multiply like locusts, and it will be they who delay redemption, for they will bring about the separation of hearts and groundless hatred.

I have heard this story before but with the slightly different ending… simply “it will be the rabbis who delay the geulah”, without the statement about chassidim or separation of hearts.

Does anyone know the source of the first story?


  1. The second story is one that should be publicised more. Unfortunately there are groups that send Jews away from Hashem instead of bringing them closer.

  2. OK for the record that portrait is of Rabbi Dr Hayyim Samuel Jacob Falk (Hebrew: חיים שמואל יעקב פאלק‎; Also known as the Baal Shem of London and Doctor Falckon - NOTHING AT ALL TO SNEEZE at - with all due respect. He was a master kabbalist and a very good man. You may read more about him here -

    He was able to reverse illness. This is something that not many could do. As for the rumors - it's all speculation and LH. May will merit GOOD NEWS THIS WEEK. Shavua tov.

  3. The Lubavitcher Rebbe and others strongly disapproved of Buber's "Tales" as many of them are distorted and contain a subtle anti-Orthodox bent compared to the originals. Even Buber himself admitted to reworking them, they aren't to be trusted.

  4. Total garbage. Real gedolim will die of heartbreaking, when they see other jews who can't live a comfortable life: check last week's newspapers. This is slander and takes advantage of gedolim who are not able to reply - don't worry, they will reply soon enough. As for despising "pharisees" and their supposed hypocrisy, that speaks for itself.

  5. Akiva, what are the commentaries on the part of the rabbi's will deay or hinder the geulah? I certainly cannot see why it would be specified to the Chasidim specifically.

    At anyrate, let's just hope the redemption comes.

  6. The zohar says some thing along those lines as well re: rabbis in the end of days..


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