Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Keter Baal Shem Tov

Keser Baal Shem Tov, the Crown of the Baal Shem Tov, is a collection of stories and teachings from founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov did not write his teachings; he amassed followers, most of whom would found Hasidic dynasties which continue to exist today.

This collection was published thirty years after the death of the Baal Shem Tov. So, no doubt the work was preserved orally, or written down in different sources until complied into this volume. Really, I know nothing of its history of its composition, which, no doubt, is probably fascinating.

If you are someone like me, and you have read a great many Hasidic works, it is a revelation to sit and read the Keter, seeing such well-known stories and teaching in one place and in their origin context. It is the closest we can get to the Baal Shem Tov himself.

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