Magician, Mystic, and Leader
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Brandeis University Press
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This book was originally published in Hebrew by the Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History in 2000. The work on the various chapters took several years, during which I had . . .
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Why another book on the Besht, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov? What does this book seek to add to all that has already been written and published on . . .
1 | Magic and Miracle Workers in the Days of the Baal Shem Tov
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Blocking the way forward for the historian who seeks to examine the place and role played by magic in the figure of the Baal Shem Tov, is the distorted picture . . .
2 | Israel Baal Shem
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The professional designation, baal shem, does not bring out the special qualities of the Besht’s personality or suggest the scope of his activity; still less . . .
3 | A Leader of the Jewish People
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The Besht did not view himself as the leader of a movement, not only because in his day the Hasidic movement did not yet exist, or because it had never . . .
4 | The Besht as Mystic and Pioneer in Divine Worship
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It was his mystical experience, more than anything else, that was at the core of the Besht’s spiritual world. This experience was also what gave shape to the new form . . .
5 | The Besht and His Circle
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Being an original mystic and a pioneer in divine worship, the Besht also viewed himself as imbued with a spiritual message to be conveyed to others. Who were . . .
6 | The Historicity of Shivhei Habesht
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Do the sources available to us provide an adequate basis for forming a historical reconstruction of the Besht? This question has preoccupied scholars of Hasidism . . .
Conclusion | The Besht and the Founding of Hasidism
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At the close of this book, I return to the question with which I opened it: Can the Besht be considered the “founder of . . .
Appendix I | Magic and Miracle Workers in the Literature of the Haskalah
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Appendix II | The Besht's Epistle
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Appendix III | The Versions of the Besht's Epistle
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Page Count: 350
Publication Year: 2004