Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Baal Shem Tov

The long front hallway at Song and Spirit is lined with our gallery of saints, sages and peacemakers of all faiths. Here is another one:
Rabbi Yisroel (Israel) ben Eliezer (1698–1760), often called Baal Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name) or Besht, was a Jewish mystical rabbi and the founder of Hasidic Judaism. He declared the whole universe, mind and matter, to be a manifestation of the Divine Being. The point of prayer is d’vekut (cleaving) — the glorious feeling of Oneness with God Almighty, the state of the soul wherein a man or woman gives up their consciousness of separate existence, and join their own selves to the Eternal Being of God Supreme.

The Baal Shem Tov’s teachings were largely based upon the Kabalistic teachings of the AriZal (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534-72) but his approach made the benefits of these teachings accessible even to the simplest Jew. He emphasized the profound importance and significance of prayer, love of God, and love of one’s fellows. He taught that even if one was not blessed with the ability or opportunity to be a scholar, one could still reach great spiritual heights through these channels.

Song & Spirit Needs YOU! 
What's so important about having an interfaith institute for peace? We allow everyday people the opportunity to see with eyes of enchantment, to see that we are all on this planet and within this mystery together - so that we can all become people who make a difference in the world!

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