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.

V'Yeishav I. Good jealousy 1. 'His brothers were jealous of him.' (Bereishis* 37.11) It is known that HaShem* desires to be merciful [to the Jewish people.] His will is to always do good [for them.] If a person finds that at times he is lacking in something this is really [happening] for his own good. It is being done in order to inspire him to do tshuva*. However, [it is different] when there are Tzaddikim who act in a way that does not cause a desecration of the name of HaShem. They cause the name of HaShem to be loved in the world. As is taught in the Talmud*. '"And He said to me, you are my servant, Yisroel who beautifies Me." [This refers to] when a person reads and learns [Torah*] and he does his business honestly. He speaks softly with everyone. People say, "The one who learns Torah, praised is his father, and his teacher..."' [When people see the Tzaddik they receive inspiration.] They will do tshuva, and will not need to receive a punishment to inspire them to do tshuva. This is the meaning of the verse, 'His brothers were jealous of him.' They were jealous of him because he was a Tzaddik. This is a good type of jealousy. This causes one to have fear of HaShem all day long. 'And his father.' This refers to HaShem [who is the father of us all.] 'Watched over the matter' [and kept it in mind for the future.] This language indicates [that HaShem] will not bring judgments on the Jewish people at all. This is because when there are Tzaddikim [that one can see and be inspired from their actions to do tshuva] there is no need for HaShem to come in judgement [with his people.] (p. 38 sefer Divrei Emes teachings of the Chozeh of Lublin.) * * * II. The Holiness of HaShem 2. 'And he said, Your brothers are pasturing in Shechem, are they not?' (Bereishis 37.1-2) The Midrash* teaches [with regards to this verse], 'From generation to generation we shall relate Your greatness. And for all of eternity we shall tell of Your holiness. And Your praise, Our G-d, shall not leave our mouths for all eternity.' This is baffling. What is the meaning of this Midrash? [How does this verse relate to Yosef and his brothers?] I will explain it, incline your heart and prepare your mind. The Talmud says, 'What is the reason that Yeshaya wrote that the angels had six wings, and Yechezkel wrote that they had four [wings] each?' The Talmud says that [with Yeshaya when there were six wings] was when the Beis HaMikdash* was still standing. There [with Yechezkel where it says four wings] was when the Beis HaMikdash was no longer standing. From this we see that today when the Beis HaMikdash has been destroyed they are missing two wings [and there are now only four wings to the angels.] It says in the writings of the Arizal*, that these [six] words 'Blessed is the name of His glorious Kingdom for all eternity' are for the six wings of the angels. Therefore since now the angels lack two wings, there are two words from these six words that are lacking. My Rebbe* the Holy Rav*, the Rebbe Reb* Elimeilech [of Lizensk] said that the two words that are missing are: 'His glorious kingdom.' And for this reason we are asking and praying to HaShem in the Musaf* prayer of Yom Tov*, 'Reveal the glory of Your kingdom upon us.' I say that the two words that are missing from the time of the destruction of the temple are 'for all eternity.' The reason is that the Talmud tells us that in the future the Tzaddikim will be called 'holy.' Now, only HaShem is called holy. But in the future all the Tzaddikim will be called 'holy.' The Talmud then asks what HaShem will be called in the future [since the Tzaddikim would appear to be on the same level as Him.] It answers that HaShem will be called 'holy for all eternity.' With this idea we can explain the Midrash. This Midrash is a remez* to all of what I said above. 'Your brothers are pasturing in Shechem, are they not?' This is a remez to the time when the Jewish people are in exile. 'Your brothers' refers to the Jewish people. 'Pasturing' refers to the time of exile, when the temple is destroyed and there are two wings missing [from the angels.] There are two words missing from the six words, i.e. 'for all eternity.' Four words are left over. [They are:] 'Blessed is the name of his glorious kingdom.' The first letters of these four words [Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso] spells our Shechem. [Shechem refers to the time of exile when there are only those four words.] This is the meaning of the Midrash. 'From generation to generation we shall relate Your greatness.' This refers to now, in our time. However, 'And for all of eternity.' Refers to the future. 'We shall tell of Your holiness.' He is called Holy now. In the future we shall all be called, in the same manner as He is called now. The Midrash then has the same question of the Talmud. What shall HaShem be called in the future, if at that time we shall be called Holy? The Midrash ends, 'And Your praise, Our G-d, shall not leave our mouths for all eternity.' This means that HaShem will be called, 'Holy for all eternity.' This is because at this time, due to the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash we are lacking those two words, 'for all eternity.' However in the future those two words will be filled into their place. Therefore HaShem will be called 'Holy for all eternity.' This is the explanation of the Talmud. May it be His Will that we should merit to see this speedily in our days through our righteous Moshaich*. He should come speedily and in our days, Amen. (p. 57 sefer Ohav Yisroel teachings of Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apt.) * * * III. True Peace 3. 'Please go and look into the welfare [Heb. Shalom] of your brothers and the welfare of the flock and bring me back word.' (Bereishis 37.14)'' The true peace [Heb. Shalom] between a person and his fellow is not just that there should not be any hatred, one for the other. He should be desirous and be waiting to hear and to see good things happen to his fellow. He should always seek his welfare. This is the source of the midah* called Yasod. [This means] that two things are brought together and made one complete whole. For this reason Yakov sent Yosef, who is a remez for the midah of Yasod. To 'look into the welfare' of his brothers, and 'to bring me back word.' This means that he should complete this midah [of yasod by seeking their welfare and bringing them together.] It appears to us that the opposite occurred. The verse says that 'they hated him.' And through this mission he was sold and became a slave. However this was specifically the way that the true peace was to come about. 'Because there is no light except that which comes from darkness.' They thought that their hatred of him was based on the Torah. The brothers were certainly holy and they did not intend to spill the blood of an innocent person because of hatred. They judged him according to their knowledge of the laws of the Torah, as is explained in the holy seforim*. All this was the method through which there would come to completion the midah of Yasod; the level of peace and completeness. Then, when this was completed, after 22 years, he truthfully brought his father back word. [He returned to Yakov and brought completeness to him.] As the verse says, 'Their father Yakov's spirit was revived.' Through this Yakov achieved a complete renewal. (p. 43 sefer Toras Emes teachings of Rebbe Leibele Eigger of Lublin.) * * * IV. Being afraid to sin 4. 'And Yakov sojourned in the land.' (Bereishis 37.1) The first thing a person needs to have [in order to serve HaShem] is fear. When he contemplates the great evil of his Yetzer*. Which is always ready to kill him, and to cause him to lose [his portion in the world to come.] How can he not be filed with fear that he should not fall into his hands? It is well known that it is evil and bitter for the person who is tried by it. To go after the desires of his heart for the pleasures of this physical world. This is evil and bitter for the nashama* more then any other thing in this world. If he contemplates this he will be able to achieve fear. However this is not called 'fear of HaShem.' This is 'fear for himself.' [He is afraid of what will happen to him.] However in the beginning he should try to acquire this fear. Then, afterwards, he should strive to come to the main fear, the level of 'fear of HaShem.' [The fear of HaShem] because he is the master and ruler, and the source of all life. This is the meaning of 'And Yakov sojourned in the land.' 'Sojourned' is fear, according to the above explanation [of fear.] 'Yakov' is [the letter] 'yud' [and] 'ekav' [lit. in the end.] The Yud refers to fear as is known [from the Kabbalah seforim.] The meaning is that his sojourning, should be first with fear. 'Yud ekav' refers to the lower type of fear. In the beginning he should have this lower type of fear. [The reason is] because of 'the land.' The Yetzer HaRah* tries to make him fall into desires for the pleasures of this physical world. Then 'In the land of his father's sojourning.' [Heb. m'gerai] The word 'sojourn' is a language of 'fear' as it says, 'And Moav was afraid.' [Heb. V'Yigar] The meaning is that afterwards he should have the fear of his father who is in heaven. Because he is his father and the source of all. [This is the higher level of fear.] (p. 89 sefer Divrei Elimeilech teachings of Rebbe Elimeilech of Grodzisk) --------------------------------------------------------------------- Glossary: Arizal: Hebrew initials of the words: Adoni Rabbenu Yitzchok Zechorono LeVaracha our master Rabbi Yitzchok. Better known as Yitzchok Luria the great 16th century Kabbalist Baal Medraigah: refers to a person on a high level of service to HaShem Baal Tephilah: The person who leads the communal prayers Beis HaMikdash: Heb. The Holy Temple Bereishis: First book of the Torah. Called Genesis in English HaShem: Noun used in place of G-d. Lit. The Name Kavanah(Kavanos): Hebrew word for 'intention'. Maggid: In Europe this was a person who would give sermons on moral subjects. Many of the first Rebbes was Maggidim (pl. of Maggid). Megilla: 1. Tractate of the Talmud 2. Another name for the Biblical book of Esther Megillas Esther: Hebrew for the book of Esther midah(midos): A character trait, either good or bad. Midrash: Rabbinical work with homiletic interpretations mikvah: Hebrew word referring to a ritual bath used for purification Mincha: Name of the afternoon prayer Moshiach: Heb. Messiah Musaf: Name of additional prayer on Shabbos and Yom Tov nashama(nashamos): Hebrew word for soul. Parsha (Parshos): lit. 'portion' refers to the portion of the Torah read each week. Rav: An official rabbi who renders legal decisions. Many of the Rebbes were both a Rebbe of Chasidim, and the Rov of the city in which they lived. Reb: A title added to a persons name as a sign of respect. 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. Shaarei Tzion: A sefer with various prayers which is popular among Chasidim. Shemonah Esra: Lit. 18. refers to the 18 blessings of the main prayer said three times a day. Shulchan Aruch: 15th/16th century book of Jewish law siddur: Jewish prayer book. Talmid (Talmidim): Disciples of a Rebbe. Talmud: An ancient work of Jewish law. Tephilos Hashiv: Special prayer said for tshuva Tikkun Chatzos: A special prayer said at midnight to mourn for the destruction of the temple. 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 Yetzer: lit. Inclination. It is Jewish belief that every Jew has both an evil and good inclination within him, that are at 'war' to see which of them the person will follow. Yetzer HaRah: Heb. Evil Inclination. Yetzer Tov: Heb. Good Inclination Yom Tov(Yomim Tovim): Hebrew name for 'holiday' ************************************************************** Copyright (c) 1997 by Moshe Shulman ( All rights reserved. Issur Hasugas Givil