CHASSIDUS                        BS'D

                       DERECH HaBAAL SHEM TOV

            Ahavas HaShem, Ahavas Yisroel, Ahavas HaTorah

                    THE WAY OF THE BAAL SHEM TOV

         Love of G-d, Love of fellow Jews, Love of the Torah

Note: A '*' next to a word indicates that it is translated/explained in the glossary at the end. Three '*' (* * *) in the text indicates a break between two sections. A single '*' (*) indicates a separation between different teachings on the same subject. Anything found between '[' and ']' are my comments and do not appear in the source material. Everything else is from the original as is cited at the end of the article.

BO I. Truth 1. 'And against the children of Israel no dog [Heb. kalev] shall wag it's tongue.' (Shemos* 11.7) We can explain this verse in our usual manner. [It is known that] the Torah* was given without any vowels. [For that reason] we are allowed to assign each vowel as we wish according to the idea behind our drash*. [Therefore] we can say that the remez* of this verse is as follows. All the troubles that come to a person are because he is steeped in falsehood, and does not attach himself to truth. [The words of] his mouth and his heart are not in agreement. However the person who is attached to truth, [the words of] his mouth and his heart are in agreement. He will be able to eliminate all judgments against him. The word 'Mouth' [Heb. peh] has the same gematria* as the name 'Elokim' with one added to it. [This name is used when HaShem* comes to execute judgement against a person.] Through the heart, where understanding rests, one eliminates these judgments [as is known from Kabbalah seforim*.] Then all of his troubles are eliminated. [Therefore when he speaks only the truth and his heart and mouth are united he can cause his troubles to disappear.] However the person who is steeped in falsehood. He says one thing with his mouth and [has something else] in his heart. His mouth is not attached to his heart. The exact opposite is true. Since his mouth is separated from his heart. He cannot eliminate the judgments and hence all these troubles come upon him. This is the remez of the verse: 'And against the children of Israel no dog shall wag it's tongue.' The Jews going out of Egypt were not harmed by anything. The reason being that 'no dog [Heb. kalev] (shall wag) it's tongue.' [He understands this as saying 'like their heart' [Heb. k'lev] was their tongue.] What they said [with their speech] was what was in their heart. Their mouths and hearts were one and they were attached to the truth. For this reason all the judgments were eliminated. (p. 60 sefer Degel Machnah Ephraim teachings of Rebbe* Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sedelkov a grandson of the Baal Shem Tov.) * * * II. Both young and old. 2. 'And Moshe said, "With our young and with our old we will go.' (Shemos 10.9) I will first explain what Chazal* teach, 'Praised are our younger years that they did not cause shame to our elder years.' The meaning of this teaching is that there are people who in their younger years, due to their strength, succeed in the war with their physical desires. However when they are older, due to their weaknesses, they fall into these desires. This is because even though in their younger years they did not fall into the traps of their physical desires, they still did not conquer over them completely. Therefore we see people who in their younger years loved the Tzaddikim* and the Chasidim. But in their elder years their love became less. We see that their younger years were better then their elder years. They cause their elder years to be shamed. The truth is that a person needs to have the wisdom to see that he needs to break his physical desires, and completely control them when he is still young. He should do this to the extent that they will no longer have the power to overcome him when he will be older. Then all his days will be equally good. That is the meaning of 'Praised are our younger years that they did not cause shame to our elder years.' All of the years were equally good and dedicated to the service of HaShem, and the war to overcome and break physical desires. To love the Tzaddikim and Chasidim with truth. This is what Moshe meant. "With our young and with our old we will go." With the days of our youth and our elder days we shall go. With a single way of going, in the service of HaShem. It will be in such a way that the younger years will not cause shame to the elder years. (p. 73 sefer Ahavas Shalom teachings of Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Kosov.) * * * III. Inner Holiness 3. 'And for all of the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings.' (Shemos 10.23) The truth is that each Jew has within him a holy spark the like of which is not found even in the Tzaddik. It is just that the 'light' is not revealed the same with each person. [In some it is more revealed then in others.] For example, if a precious stone is lying in a pile of garbage the light and shine of it is not revealed at all. However when one starts to clean it from the stains and the garbage that covers it, the stone begins to have a luster. When one cleans it well and especially when one places it in a golden broach it shines very much. This is the meaning of this verse: The truth is that 'For all of the children of Israel there was light.' There is to be found in each and every Jew this light. The difference is 'In their dwellings.' [Heb. b'Moshovtam] This word spells out the words, 'moshav tam.' [a complete resting place.] It all depends on where this light is to be found. One must see to it that it rests in a perfect and complete place. [The meaning is that we all have a holy soul, and it is up to us to purify ourselves so that the light of this holy soul will be able shine.] (p. 63 sefer Ner Yisroel teachings of Rebbe Yisroel of Rizhin and his children. This is from the holy Riziner.) * * * IV. Moshiach* 4. 'HaShem said to Moshe, "Come to Pharaoh."' (Shemos 6.6) It has occurred to me that the gematria of the word 'come' [Heb. bo] together with the word 'Pharaoh' equals the value of 'Moshiach.' There is a remez to this in the words 'Come to Pharaoh.' The meaning is that the value of the word 'come' should be placed with that of 'Pharaoh.' [Which together make the value of Moshiach.] We can explain this according to what I have said many times. The redemption from Egypt is the root of all the redemptions that the Jewish people will have until the final redemption. All of the salvations come out of this redemption [from Egypt.] Just as a doctor tries to cure a sick person. He tries to make the healing complete so that the sickness will not return. However since it is something of this physical world it has a limit, and no permanence. However the salvation of HaShem is for ever. The redemption from Egypt is the source of the eternal redemption. Even though after this redemption there occurred many difficult times [where they needed again to be redeemed.] However the source of the redemption is permanent. From it come all the redemptions and salvations. The verse says in the beginning of the redemption from Egypt. [Moshe asked what name he should relate to the Jewish people as being HaShem's name. HaShem answered,] "I will be what I will be." Chazal tell us that the meaning is that I will be with them in this suffering and I will be with them in future sufferings. This shows that from this redemption all the later redemptions will come. This parsha* is the beginning of the redemption for every Jewish person according to his source in the Torah. (p. 94 sefer Toras Emes teachings of Rebbe Leibele Eigger of Lublin.) --------------------------------------------------------------------- Glossary: Chazal: Hebrew initials for: Chochmenu Zichrona Levaracha (Our sages of Blessed memory) Used to refer to Rabbis of the Talmud Drash: A method of Biblical interpretation ascribing moral or ethical meaning to verses in the Torah. gematria: The numerical value of the Hebrew letters. HaShem: Noun used in place of G-d. Lit. The Name midah(midos): A character trait, either good or bad. mitzvah(mitzvos): One of the commandments of the Torah. Moshiach: Heb. Messiah Parsha (Parshos): lit. 'portion' refers to the portion of the Torah read each week. Rebbe: Leader of a Chassidic group or a teacher Rebbe Reb: A title added to a few special Rebbes as a sign of their higher spiritual stature. remez: A method of Biblical interpretation based on finding hints in the Torah for various concepts. sefer(seforim): A Jewish religious book. Shemos: Second book of the Torah. Called Exodus in English Talmid (Talmidim): Disciples of a Rebbe. Torah: a. First 5 books of the Jewish Bible b. Also refers to the whole of Jewish law c. also common term for a chassidic teaching Tzaddik (Tzaddikim): lit. Righteous. Another name for a Chassidic Rebbe. Z'L: Hebrew initials of the words: Zechorono LeVaracha (His memory is a blessing.) ************************************************************** Copyright (c) 1997 by Moshe Shulman ( All rights reserved. Issur Hasugas Givil