New Teachings From The Baal Shem Tov

  1. Just as a father teaching his son to walk, first he may hold his hand and then he lets go, so the son can walk on his own – similarly to bring us to the service of God, God firstly gives us inspiration – but then we must persevere.
  2. If God seeks our closeness, why did He make it that we can be distant – the answer is that ultimately if someone is always close (like if you eat ice cream daily) it ceases to give pleasure.

  3. By nature, as the soul comes from God, it seeks to return to God (expire… Clois Hanefesh) that is why God puts it into a body (that seeks physical needs/pleasures.)

Note 10 Everything seeks to go back to its source – therefore the soul seeks to return to God – so through eating, drinking, sleeping, some business, this quiets the soul’s longing (as the person is involved elsewhere) however simultaneously it strengthens.

  • Because life is up and down – as a constant pleasure loses its pleasure (so we fluctuate between spiritual and physicality) for in order for to constantly feel pleasure in God which is the essence of Avodas Hashem (Divine service) the physical must at times withdraw us.
  • The Baal Shem Tov gives a beautiful example of a person who comes to a store and is given a taste of all the delicacies -and then is told “purchase,” for here we give nothing for free! – initially God gives us a taste of spirituality…

Note 12 The greatest passion for God – in fact which Tzaddikim long for – is the passion of the person who first encounters.


First God gives one a great delight in Divine service, for one needs to know what one needs to look for – but then this is taken away, for one can hardly be rewarded for being led (by the bridle,) only then it is as the example, as a father who continuously draws his son close by holding out his hands, and withdraws, so the son can learn to run – eventually we can achieve a delight – the purpose of service God – in God, even greater than to what to us is shown.

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