This doctrine was a strong challenge to many ideas current among Jews in the Besht
In the school of the Great Maggid, in a collection of Hasidic teachings entitled Liqqutei Yeqarim, the Besht
is reported as saying that:
"Such good people," the Besht
said "but, my good baal tefila, you must leave them.
In the 1760s and early 1770s, he led a formation which, after Salomon Maimon, could be termed a "New Hasidim" or an ecstatic group within Hasidism, (12) From it emerged the Hasidism which is now called Beshtian Hasidism (in Maggid's time, however, nobody had yet regarded Besht
as its founder).
Prominent among the third generation of Hasidic masters, called Rebbes or Zaddikim, was Nahman of Bratzlav (1772-1810), a grandson of the Besht
1700-1760, better known as the Baal Shem Tov or Besht
, is one of the most intriguing, yet enigmatic figures in early modern Jewish history.
It focuses on the Besht
's heir and disciple, the Great Maggid (story-teller) of Mezritch and his disciples.
Pinhas was nominated by the Besht
to succeed him (alongside Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Miedzyrzez) but he declined the nomination (Circle, pp.
The Baal Shem Tov, or the Besht
, as he is commonly called, led a revival in Judaism that put love and joy at the center of religious life and championed the piety of the common folk against the rabbinic establishment.
In his essay on the Baal Shem Tov, Aberbach is more cautious in arguing that the Besht
's emphasis on devekut may have been linked to childhood bereavement.
The evening ended in a "You're my besht
friend" mess outside a cab rank at Liverpool Street station.
Rather than concentrate on the Besht
himself (we have, after all, two recent books by Moshe Rosman and Immanuel Etkes on him), Hundert discusses the "contexts" in which the new movement arose and spread.