‘THE SOLUTION was to be found in a “Shivhei Habesht” manuscript that reached the Lubavitch Library in summer 1980.’ Pictured (from left): title page of the first edition; the page that illuminated the solution.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The frst collection of hassidic tales that re counts the adventures of the Besht (Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, ca. 1700-1760) was published in 1814, 54 years after the death of the hero of the work. The collection was titled Shivhei Habesht (In Praise of the Baal Shem Tov) and it did much to fashion the collective perception of the person who inspired the hassidic movement.While some of the tales may be historically suspect, they accurately capture the 1814 image of the nascent movement.