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The Legend of the Baal-Shem
The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber spoke directly to the most profound human concerns in all his works, including his discussions of Hasidism, a mystical-religious movement founded in Eastern Europe by Israel ben Eliezer, called the Baal-Shem (the Master of God's Name). Living in the first part of the eighteenth century in Podolia and Wolhynia, the...
The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber spoke directly to the most profound human concerns in all his works, including his discussions of Hasidism, a mystical-religious movement founded in Eastern Europe by Israel ben Eliezer, called the Baal-Shem (the Master of God's Name). Living in the first part of the eighteenth century in Podolia and Wolhynia, the Baal-Shem braved scorn and rejection from the rabbinical establishment and attracted followers from among the common people, the poor, and the mystically inclined. Here Buber offers a sensitive and intuitive account of Hasidism, followed by twenty stories about the life of the Baal-Shem. This book is the earliest and one of the most delightful of Buber's seven volumes on Hasidism and can be read not only as a collection of myth but as a key to understanding the central theme of Buber's thought: the I-Thou, or dialogical, relationship."All positive religion rests on an enormous simplification of the manifold and wildly engulfing forces that invade us: it is the subduing of the fullness of existence. All myth, in contrast, is the expression of the fullness of existence, its image, its sign; it drinks incessantly from the gushing fountains of life."--Martin Buber, from the introduction
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