Monthly Archives: July 2007

The Soul of the Ba’al Shem Tov

In the city of Tzfas in Eretz Yisroel, once lived a simple Jew who only knew how to pray. Nevertheless he was extremely modest and straight-forward. One night, as he was saying the Tikun Chatzos, (the midnight lamentation over the destruction of the Holy Temple), there was a knock at the door. A man entered and introduced himself as Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the Prophet). He came to reveal to this simple Jew when the Moshiach (messiah) will come. But first, the man must reveal to him what he did on the day of his bar-mitzvah earned him the privilege of receiving this information. The man declined to tell. Even though it was Eliyahu HaNavi asking, what he did was completely l’shem shamayim, (for the sake of Hashem alone), and therefore a secret between him and the creator. Then he agreed not to receieve the information.Eliyahu HaNavi went back up to heaven where there was a tremendous tumult over this man’s purity. They ordered Eliyahu to return and to teach this man deep secrets of Torah. The man became a great tzaddik nistar (hidden righteous man). When he died, the Heavenly Court decided that his reward would be to return to earth and reveal a new path in Torah that would renew souls, purify the world and hasten the redemption. This was the soul of the Baal Shem Tov.