Baal Shem Tov (1698–1760)
Founder of the Jewish mystical movement called Hasidism
that swept through Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries. Born as Israel, son of Eliezer, he became
known as the Baal Shem Tov, ‘‘Master of the Good Name,’’ or
the Besht. Many legends circulated around the zaddikim, or
holy leaders, of Hasidism, who were credited with miracles and
spiritual insight. Hasidism had, and continues to have, a notable
impact on Jewish life.
Sources
Buber, Martin. The Legend of the Baal-Shem. New York
Schocken Books, 1955.
———. Tales of the Hasidim The Early Masters. New York
Schocken Books, 1947.
Hilsenrad, Zalman Aryeh, comp. The Baal Shem Tov His
Birth and Early Manhood. Brooklyn, N.Y. Kehot Publication Society,
1967.
Kaplan, Aryeh. Chassidic Masters History, Biography, and
Thought. New York Maznaim Publishing, 1984.

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