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.

Reah I. Expanded understanding. 1. "When HaShem will extend your boundary... according to the desire of your soul you shall eat meat." (Devorim* 12:20) [Serving HaShem*] with fear causes [one's mind] to feel restricted. While [serving HaShem] with love causes [one's mind] to be expanded and uplifted. In this manner I have heard the explanation of the verse 'When HaShem will extend your boundary.' You should have enthusiasm [in the service of HaShem.] I have heard in the name of Rebbe Yechiel Mechel of maggid* of Zlotchov, by so doing you will come to have an expansion of your heart in the service of HaShem. (p. 79 sefer Malki b'Kodesh teachings of Rebbe Yechiel Mechel the maggid of Zlotchov.) * * * II. Overcoming one's physical nature. 2. "When HaShem will extend your boundary as he has promised you, and you will say 'I want to eat meat.'" (Devorim 12:20) It is well known that every person has a part of him tied to the physical world and a part that is spiritual. The spiritual part is the opposite of the part tied to the physical world. This is because the physical part desires physical things and the spiritual part desires to break the power of physicality and increase the power of the spiritual. If a person merits to achieve the level where his understanding is expanded, then he will understand and comprehend how disgusting the desire for physical things is when it is compared to the desire for spiritual things. Then the power of his spiritual desires will destroy the desire for physical things. The truth is that the way for one to break the power of physical desires is through performance of the mitzvos* of HaShem. The more the soul desires to do the will of HaShem, the desires for this physical world become disgusting in his eyes. His whole desire will be for spiritual things. His heart will only desire to do the will of His Father who is in Heaven, because that is an eternal pleasure. This is the meaning of the verse: 'When HaShem will extend your boundary.' This refers to the boundary of ones mind. He shall have an expansion of understanding, and he will understand and have success in [attaining] the fear of HaShem. "And you will say 'I want to eat meat.'" [The word 'I want to eat'] is written without a 'vav' [Heb. achlah] which is similar to the word meaning 'I will destroy.' [Heb. akalah] This means that he desires to destroy and break his desires for physical things, which are called [in this verse] 'meat.' The meaning of this is that it is always the case that the desire of the soul is to destroy the desire for physical things. The holy Torah* teaches us that all his actions should only be to fulfil the will of his soul, which is learning Torah, doing mitzvos, good deeds and the fear of HaShem. From doing that he will break and nullify his physical nature. That is 'according to the desire of your soul you shall eat meat.' This comes about because of your doing the desire of your soul. From this you will destroy the physical nature called 'meat.' All your desires will be for the mitzvos of HaShem. To have enjoyment from them. The eternal enjoyment, as I said above. The end of this verse 'according to the desire of your soul you shall eat meat' indicates that he should come to such a level of purity that his physical body will also be enflamed to the service of HaShem. He will receive joy from the service of HaShem, and from the mitzvos that he does. His body will also receive of this enjoyment, since it's will agrees to this service of HaShem. This is what the verse means 'according to the desire of your soul.' According to the desire of your soul for the service of HaShem. 'You shall eat meat.' This implies enjoyment, indicating that the physical body will also have enjoyment in the desire of the soul, as I said above. (p. 128 sefer Mevasar Tzedek teachings of Rebbe Yisachar Ber of Zlotchov a talmid* of Rebbe Yechiel Mechel, the maggid of Zlotchov.) * * * III. Becoming Children 3. 'You are children to HaShem your G-d.' (Devorim 14.1) Children you will be to HaShem. [When is this?] Only if you watch yourself so that He should be your G-d. [When you have a recognition that HaShem is your G-d, then you will be His children.] (p.26 sefer Rashpei Aish teachings of Rebbe Mordechai of Neshchiz a talmid of Rebbe Yechiel Mechel, the maggid of Zlotchov.) * * * IV. The source of blessings 4. 'The blessing when you will listen to the mitzvos of HaShem.' (Devorim 11.27) We can explain this verse according [to the teaching of Chazal*] a mitzvah brings another mitzvah. We see that the mitzvah itself is the level of a blessing, a little causes a lot. [A mitzvah which is a small thing, causes a great reward.] It becomes the source of blessings, and the reward [for doing it] is very great. [Chazal teach us] 'there is no reward for the mitzvos in this world', [the reward is in the world to come. However] we are able to do the mitzvos in this world. As it is written 'Today' to do them and not tomorrow. The truth is that the Tzaddikim* get more spiritual strength and enjoyment from the mitzvos then from the reward. This is the level of [what Chazal teach] 'It is better one hour in this world of tshuva* and good deeds then the whole world to come.' The opposite is with a sin. It brings another sin, G-d forbid, and becomes the source of curses. For this reason it says, 'The blessing when you shall listen.' You should hear and contemplate [the idea] that it is possible for you to become a source of blessings. (p. 192 sefer Mordechai B'Shaar HaMelech, teachings of Rebbe Mordechai of Zavil a descendant of Rebbe Yechiel Mechel, maggid of Zlotchov.) * * * V. Inheritance 5 'You are children to HaShem your G-d.' (Devorim 14.1) The earlier commentators have asked, Why is it that there is no mention in the Torah of the future reward and the world to come. That [reward in the world to come] is the main [reward,] the foundation, and everything depends on it. In the Torah we find the idea of Gan Eden* [which is the reward of the world to come.] Also the Torah says [with regards to the Jewish people] 'You are children to HaShem.' The difference between a 'child' and a 'servant' is that a servant has to work hard for his reward. However everything that a father has belongs to his son as long as he does not rebel against him and is expelled. [For this reason] it does not make sense to refer to a reward for a son for his service since everything is his anyway. If he does his father's will he becomes the master of the house himself and inherits everything. [For this reason there is no need to discuss the reward in the world to come, since the Jewish people are called G-d's children. Hence everything that He has belongs to them as long as they do His will.] (p. 221 sefer Toras M'HaRash, teachings of Rebbe Shlomoh of Zavil a descendant of Rebbe Yechiel Mechel, maggid of Zlotchov.) --------------------------------------------------------------------- Glossary: Beis HaMedrash: Jewish house of study Chazal: Hebrew initials for: Chochmenu Zichrona Levaracha (Our sages of Blessed memory) Used to refer to Rabbis of the Talmud Devorim: Fifth book of the Torah. Called in English 'Deuteronomy'. Gan Eden: Hebrew name for paradise HaShem: Noun used in place of G-d. Lit. The Name Maggid: In Europe this was a person who would give sermons on moral subjects. Many of the first Rebbes was Maggidim (pl. of Maggid). mitzvah(mitzvos): One of the commandments of the Torah. Morah Moreinu: lit. 'Teacher, our teacher' a honorific title given to great Rabbis when they are called up for the reading of the Torah. Mori: Hebrew for my teacher. musar: Hebrew for moral instruction. Shalom Aleichem: lit. 'peace to you' an expression of welcome in Yiddish. 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 Tshuva: Hebrew word for repentance Tzaddik (Tzaddikim): lit. Righteous. Another name for a Chassidic Rebbe. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright (c) 1997 by Moshe Shulman ( All rights reserved. Issur Hasugas Givil