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The Best Of The Baal Shem Tov

1. After I finished the translation “Kesser Shem Tov” the simple fundamental idea of the Baal Shem Tov (which is mentioned in a few places as well as the Rebbe would often quote from Kabbalah “God’s face above, mirrors man’s Below”) that the disposition (emotions – joy – faith – compassion ) we hold within ourselves, becomes the reality outside – so first and foremost, if you seek a better life, you must use the wisdom of the Baal Shem Tov to enter into a positive disposition (many of the techniques are in my book “Kabbalah Love,” as well under The Baal Shem Tov section in my website “LAcademyOfLife.org” under “The Practical Wisdom Of The Baal Shem Tov.”)

2. One of the greatest contributions of the Baal Shem Tov (in fact an entire field of psychology is based on it, “Shadows” by Jung) is the idea of mirroring – we see ourselves in others.  

The reason we may see something wrong in another is in order to rectify something in ourselves that we don’t consciously acknowledge. (Unless of-course it doesn’t produce any anger, rather a desire to help them as the Rebbe explains.)

3. Another great teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, “A man approaches a lake and his shadow looms very large – the closer he gets to the lake the smaller his shadow becomes…   if he bends down and his face is directly at the water, he is now literally the same size….  if we approach another egoistically or humble, this is the reaction we will receive.”  “And the same applies to God.”

4. Of-course one of the greatest teachings of the Baal Shem Tov is Hashgachah Pratis – everything that is going on in the universe is literally a direct lesson from God – so we need to train ourselves.  

When I first got into this teaching I obsessed about it for two weeks – thinking “what is the lesson of each thing?…” but interestingly now my mind almost unconsciously produces a lesson – I call it, “getting into the God frequency” – as the Rebbe says, the God station is always playing.

5. Very interestingly, the Baal Shem Tov says “God speaks in hints” – the Baal Shem Tov teaches when Moshiach comes, and as the Rebbe says, in certain respects the spiritual era of Moshiach began (in 1991 following the first time all Jews became free to worship as they please) we will see Hashgacha Pratis in everything.

6. The Rebbe teaches, this Hashgacha Pratis is not only in things we see and hear, but also often in thoughts – sometimes you get a thought which doesn’t sound logical (logic of-course is an idea based on an idea – so it makes sense say to go to work, as in your world people do that.)

This is a tremendous form of Hashgacha Pratis – as by simply trying to “Shema” “Listen/obey the voice of God” then as the Rebbe teaches (Ki Sisah, Nun Beis) the voice of God is like a GPS (it’s not telling you why to make a turn) but knowing the next best step (often growth…) it shows you where to go… so the equation is God = Direction = Change Direction = Redemption.

7. Last but not least, the Baal Shem Tov fundamentally altered the perception of reality because when we understand that we are like players in a video game – our job is constant growth – as the Baal Shem Tov called a Jew “a spiritual warrior” – we understand that all of our past, present, and future, are part and parcel of our, and everyones’ infinite growth.