THE TISCH: Fragrance of sinners

What could be sweeter than when we acknowledge that our task is to make our entire community fragrant?

By LEVI COOPER
March 7, 2018 22:01
4 minute read.
VARIATIONS OF this portrait are used to represent Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov (c.1700-1760), a Polish-bor

VARIATIONS OF this portrait are used to represent Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov (c.1700-1760), a Polish-born mystical rabbi also known as ‘Besht.’. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The inspiration for the hassidic movement, Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov (c.1700-1760) – known by the acronym “Besht” – did not leave any complete written works. We have a few documents – some of them of questionable authenticity – that are attributed to him, yet by and large his legacy rests on collective memory, preserved in later writings.

A precious document that has survived is a letter that the Besht penned to his brother-in-law, Rabbi Avraham Gershon of Kitov (d. 1761), who was living in the Land of Israel.

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