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.

Purim I. Serving HaShem 1. There are two methods of serving HaShem*. One is that which has been taught by Rebbe* Pinchas of Koretz. One should be careful of the bad midos* he has and to nullify them. This is called the level of 'Cursed is Haman.' The second is the way of the Rebbe Reb* Zushya of Anapoli to continually concentrate on the greatness of HaShem. Through trying to be attached to HaShem [in his thoughts] he will automatically nullify the bad midos. This is called the level of 'Blessed is Mordechai.' One has to have a correct understanding in order to go in either the first or the second way. [The reason is that] the main method of serving HaShem is the first way [to nullify the bad midos] but on occasion he needs to follow the second method. The reason is that it is possible to come to depression if he works on a specific bad midah [for a long time] even if his intention is to nullify it. And so Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz said that one is forbidden to work more then necessary on himself to remove all haughtiness because he can come to spiritual damage from that. And the same with other midos. At those time he should follow the second method. However one needs to have [a clear] understanding [in order to do this.] In Purim we need to drink until we no longer have the ability to understand between these two methods. This is because our understanding goes away [due to drinking.] (Nachli Binah quoting from the sefer Par L'Yishorim teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz.) * * * II. Source of Joy 2. 'When Adar arrives joy is increased.' It says in Megillas Esther 'These days should be remembered and observed in every generation.' It has been explained that through remembering the miracles and great wonders that were done for us by HaShem, we will cause an inspiration above that will bring to this world a great 'light' as was in the time of that miracle. And a miracle like that will be done likewise in every generation according to the need [of that time.] And so it should be His will. We can also explain it like this. The gematria* of word 'in joy' [Heb. b'simchah] is the same as that of 'year' [Heb. shanah] This means that the joy that a person is inspired to have at this time will be a source from which he can draw upon himself joy for the whole year. And so it should be His will. (p. 134 sefer Ohav Yisroel teachings of Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apt.) * * * III. Purim the whole year 3. I saw an interesting teaching in the sefer Divash L'Phi from the Chidah. [He states that] Purim includes in it all of the Yomim Tovim*. On Pesach they went out of slavery to freedom, and here [on Purim] they went out [of a decree for] death to life. On Shevous they received the Torah and here they once again accepted the Torah [as is taught by Chazal*.] On Rosh HaShanah the book of life and the book of death are open and here they were judged if the decree would stand [and they would be killed] or if they would be rescued. On Yom Kippur they are forgiven for all their sins and here they were forgiven for having had enjoyment [at the meal the king had made and they ate at contrary to the Torah*.] On Sukkos they are under the shadow of the clouds of glory and here many came under the shade of the wings of the Shechina* [as the verse says] many of the people of the land became Jews. It may be that for this reason the holiday is called Purim because of the Pur [lit. lottery.] This is because the first letters of the Purim are the first letters of the words: Pesach And Sukkos [Heb. V'Sukkos] Rosh HaShanah Yom Kippur The giving of the Torah [Heb. Matan Torah.] (p. 155 sefer Bnei Yisasachar teachings of Rebbe Tzvi Elimeilech of Dinov.) * * * IV. Unity 4. This Megillah represents the idea of combining together the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. Therefore it is called a 'sefer*' and also a 'letter.' The idea of the Oral Torah is the totality of the good midos that are by nature stored in the hearts of all the Jewish people. They come from the source [which is] the attachment of the Jewish people above [to HaShem.] Therefore through the love of the Jewish people and their unity there is not a single thing that they are lacking. These days are propitious to bring about this unity as the verse says, 'They should gather together.' Through their gathering together all the Jewish people will overcome Amalek. This happens because when they are together he has no power over them. As it says 'In Refidim' which means when they separated from their unity. Therefore the Talmud* teaches that they once again accepted the Torah in the days of Achashverosh. The Midrash* Tanchuma* states 'The Torah is informing us. Did they not already say "We will do and we will hear."' The explanation is that their acceptance [at that time] was of the Oral Torah which is harder to follow [as opposed to the Written Torah which they had earlier accepted.] We see from this that in the days of Achashverosh they willingly accepted also the Oral Torah. (p. 180 sefer Sefas Emes teachings of Rebbe Yehudah Aryah Leib of Ger.) * * * V. Once it happened that the first Bobover Rov Z'L* was having his tisch* on the day of Purim. There was a large barrel filled with beer standing on the table. A number of the bachurim* were pushing each other to get to the barrel to fill their cups with beer. The Rebbe called to one of the bachurim and asked him, 'Why are you pushing? If your fellow will come to there before you and he will be able to drink, then you will have performed the mitzvah* of "Loving your fellow as yourself."' The Buchor answered, 'If my fellow will go first and there will not remain enough beer for me how can I fulfill what Chazal require of us, "A person is required to get drunk [Arm. l'basemi] on Purim?"' The Rebbe answered, 'You have answered well. However listen to what I will tell you. Chazal did not say that you are required to get drunk [Heb. l'Hishtaker] on Purim. They said you are required to "basemi" on Purim. The meaning is that a person needs to be raised up in his service of HaShem. By fulfilling the mitzvah of "Loving your fellow as yourself" you prepare yourself, and you will be able to rise up and be exalted [Arm. l'hisbosem] in Torah learning and service to HaShem as is fit for this holy day.' (Heard from Admor* m'Bobov Shlita*) Zechisom Yugan Aleini v'Al Kol Yisroel --------------------------------------------------------------------- Glossary: Admor: Hebrew initials for: Adonenu Morenu VeRabenu (Our master, Our teacher our Rabbi). This is a title commonly used with Chassidic Rebbes. Admor of Ger, Admor of Satmer etc. bacharim: Hebrew/Yiddish for young men who are learning in a Yeshiva Chazal: Hebrew initials for: Chochmenu Zichrona Levaracha (Our sages of Blessed memory) Used to refer to Rabbis of the Talmud gematria: Numerical value of the letters of the Hebrew words HaShem: Noun used in place of G-d. Lit. The Name midah(midos): A character trait, either good or bad. Midrash: Rabbinical work with homiletic interpretations mitzvah(mitzvos): One of the commandments of the Torah. 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. sefer(seforim): A Jewish religious book. Shechina: Hebrew word denoting the divine presence. Shlita: Hebrew Initials for the words: Sh'Yichiya L'Aruch Yomim Tovim Amen. (He should have a good long life amen) Talmud: An ancient work of Jewish law. Tanchuma: One of the Rabbinical Midrashic works tisch: Yiddish for 'table' Refers to a meal eaten by a Rebbe with his Chasidim 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 Yom Tov(Yomim Tovim): Hebrew name for 'holiday' --------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright (c) 1997 by Moshe Shulman ( All rights reserved. Issur Hasugas Givil