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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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(p.127) Chapter Eight Testimonies
Founder of Hasidism

Moshe Rosman

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on four Hebrew texts that mention the Ba’al Shem Tov and were written during his lifetime by people who knew him personally. It emphasizes on how the texts prove that he actually did live and contain information about his role, activities, and character. The first of the testimonies is the responsum of Rabbi Meir of Konstantynow, which contains remarks addressed to the Besht. There can be no doubt that Israel from Miçdzyboz, addressed by Rabbi Meir, the man who “provides balm and medicament to the person without strength” and is associated with the sage Gershon, is the Besht. The chapter evaluates the tone of Rabbi Meir’s remarks that implied that the Besht was respected and famous. Yet what Meir chose to single out in praise of the Besht were his healing abilities.

Keywords:   Hebrew texts, Ba’al Shem Tov, Rabbi Meir, Konstantynow, Besht, Miçdzyboz, Gershon

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