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BaalShem Tov - Book Report/Review Example

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BaalShem Tov

In the first few chapters, martin Buber reveals the struggle of self understanding of the Jewish people that was particularly driven by their experience of alienation. From a literary perspective, Buber uses a cohesive literary composition to depict a new social dimension that was particularly founded by Baal-Shem Tov. The descriptive account of the twenty stories contained in the book is largely about the life of Hasidim and its founder, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer who was popularly known as Baal-Shem. Most of the stories contained in “The legend of the Baal-Shem” were largely oral stories that were compiled by Baal-Shem Tov’s disciples who often described his immense spriritual powers, knowledge and ability to predict the future (Dynner, 68). According to Hasidism, the Jewish people have always been associated with myth since the ancient times and this has particularly endangered Judaism. Consequently Buber argues that a positive religion should be based on the simplification of the manifold forces that subdue the fullness of existence. He believed that a great part of the history of Judaism has been concerned with the fight against myths. For example, the early prophets fought against the myths and impulses of the people of their time. Buber (67), suggests that Baal-Shem Tov strongly championed the panentheistic conception of God. For example, as the founder of Hasidism, he shared the belief that the entire universe, matter and mind are all but a manifestation of Divinity. As opposed to the conception of Kabbalah, panentheistic conception of God is based on the theory that God reveals himself in all things. According to Baal-Shem, even human speech is a manifestation of God because speech is an element of life and life itself is a form in which God reveals himself. Hasidism was also founded on the belief that everything including evil exists in God. For instance, followers of Hasidism argue that sin is caused by the imperfections of human thoughts and deeds. Religion has played a major part in people’s life and influenced our belief and morals. There are teachings that have some commonality that emphasize on the importance of morality and disciplinary action towards indiscipline. The author’s writings show that there is God who various religious teachings and doctrines emphasize that need to be respected. To certain doctrines God is the beginning and the end of every thing. Therefore our life is more governed and directed by God. It is through the teachings of Baal shem Tov that we are able to realize the religious impact in our lives. According to Jerome (1970), the teachings also can be translated to mean master of good names. This in its broader teachings means a source of anything good. The ability to cure illnesses has had a greater impact in religious life. The broader view of the author is that we should embrace that which is good as depicted by Baal shem Tov. From the teachings of the author it also comes out clearly that the author wants to show us that care and love for the poor is important in our societies if unity and happiness is to be achieved. It is this kind of love that ...Show more


Other name (s) Course The Legend of the Baal-Shem by Martin Buber The book “The legend of Baal-Shem” by Martin Buber is an interesting book that critically offers a descriptive account of the Jewish Hasidim as well as translations of numerous stories that describe the life of the sect’s founder who was known as Baal-Shem Tov which is generally translated as Master of God’s name…
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