Reb Eliezer, the father of the Baal Shem Tov lived in a village and would host guests – and he placed people at the edge of the village, so if they see any guests, they should send him to Reb Eliezer – whoever came to him, he also gave him a nice amount of money, so the individual should eat in joy – once they praised him in heaven… – and it was decided that he should be tested – the satan said “I will go to test him” – Elijah the Prophet said, “it isn’t good that you go, I will go…” – and he went, and he came during Shabbos, in middle of the day, dressed as a beggar with stick and knapsack – Reb Eleizer was exceptionally patient, and immediately gave him the Shabbos meal and on Sunday gave him a monetary gift; and Elijah the Prophet told him, “I came to test you (to see if you would be judgmental) and as you withstood the test; You will merit a son that will light up the eyes of the Jewish people” – and this of-course was the Baal Shem Tov.
The Baal Shem Tov’s soul was so great that it would have been impossible for it to descend, if there was any lust within his father, hence his father was 100 when he was born.
The Tzaddik of Karlin said, that a soul, as the Baal Shem Tov’s, comes to this world once in a 1,000 years.
The Baal Shem Tov said his soul feared to come into this world, due to the negative antagonists – who could have weakened his powerful faith, trust, resolve – hence sixty souls were sent to support him – one of them being the Torah scholar, the author of the Meir Nesivois.
When Reb Tzvi the Sofer (scribe) of The Baal Shem Tov wrote his Teffilin, he was able to see form one end of the world to the other.
When the great scholar Reb Dovber heard about the Baal Shem Tov that all were flocking to him and many were healed from his great prayers – though he was an incredible scholar in all of Torah, he decided to go see for himself (and test him;) as he arrived, the Baal Shem Tov told him what appeared to be simple (though very deep) fables – he decided to leave – at midnight the Baal Shem Tov sent his attended to ask the Maagid to come to him, which he did – he said “You are knowledgeable in Torah, correct?” – “Yes.” – He asked his attendant to open Eitz Chayim (a Kabbalistic book) and he asked the Maagid to explain – the Maagid did – the Baal Shem Tov told him, “You don’t understand” – so he explained it again, and the Baal Shem Tov said “You don’t understand” – so he said “If the master has another explanation, please tell me” – so the Baal Shem Tov told him to stand, which he did – and then the Baal Shem Tov read it – and as he read it, all that it was speaking about, Holy names of God, angels… all manifested – he saw a great fire etc. – the Baal Shem Tov said “Your study lacked your soul” – and then the Maagid became his disciple.
The Maagid initially did not wish to go the Baal Shem Tov – as he was ill, he went for a miraculous cure – the Baal Shem Tov prayed and he was miraculously healed – all of this was caused, so he should go drink the secrets of the Torah from the Baal Shem, then become his successor which his disciplines have given us light and Divinity – enlivening our soul till the coming of Moshiach.
The Maagid observed that immediately, as the Baal Shem Tov ate, he elevated the food into holiness.
When the Maagid tried to depart form the Baal Shem Tov – the Baal Shem Tov kept him – so asked “how come?” he replied my mind is like a rushing river, and the more one draws from it, the more it flows.
When the Baal Shem Tov taught Torah to his Holy Disciples, a fire surrounded them, and the holy angels would gather round – and they heard the thunder and lightning, and the Divine voice saying, “I am God your Lord etc.” – as is well known.
The great holy Reb Yisroel of Sanitov, the author of the Sefer Tiferes Yisroel knew about the Baal Shem Tov, as he saw him many times, but didn’t not believe in him – and the Baal Shem Tov wished to draw him close – once Reb Yisroel was downcast, as he had great difficulties in understanding an opinion in the Talmud and in the Rambam – the Baal Shem Tov sensed this, and went over and told him the explanation – Reb Yisroel said “Your explanation is good, but in miracle workers, I believe not” – the same thing happened another time, and once again Reb Yisroel, said the same thing.
Unfortunately his son fell ill – this was right before Pesach, and continued into the summer- his wife made him crazy to go to the Baal Shem Tov, but he said that he can’t afford to waste time (in the traveling) from his Torah study – eventually as she pressured him, he decided to go during Selichois when one studies less- as he arrived and didn’t have a Selichois, he went to stand by the Chazan – the Baal Shem Tov had the custom of coming to say Aneinu – meanwhile Reb Yisroel was busy thinking about another Talmudic problem, and he didn’t even realize the Baal Shem Tov came to say the prayer next to him – but as the Baal Shem Tov said the prayer, the problem was resolved – after the Baal Shem Tov finished his prayer – he turned to him and said “It seems in my Anainu, a difficult question can be resolved” – and Reb Yisroel said to him, “As I see you are aware of the Torah of each individual, indicating your soul is the general soul (in every generation a general soul which senses all) is sent – therefore, I shall become your disciple.”