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Founder of HasidismA Quest for the Historical Ba'al Shem Tov$
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Moshe Rosman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764449

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764449.001.0001

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Ba’al Shem Tov

Ba’al Shem Tov

(p.11) Chapter One Ba’al Shem Tov
Founder of Hasidism

Moshe Rosman

Liverpool University Press

This chapter gives scholarly biographical descriptions of Israel ben Eliezer. Most writers agree that Israel ben Eliezer lived from approximately 1700 to 1760 and was a person of humble origins who eventually merited the appellation Ba’al Shem Tov (the Besht), which translates as “Master of the Good Name.” The chapter talks about the Besht who had certain mystical powers and was known as a nonascetic, pneumatic-ecstatic who projected charismatic appeal. It explains how the Besht involved himself in the problems of everyday life and communicated with people through folksy discussion and the telling of stories. He was in some sense the founder of the movement that became known as Hasidism.

Keywords:   Israel ben Eliezer, Ba’al Shem Tov, Besht, nonascetic, pneumatic-ecstatic, Hasidism

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