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The Legend of the Baal-Shem
Martin Buber
Translated by Maurice Friedman

Paperback | 1995 | $25.95 / £17.95 | ISBN: 9780691043890
224 pp. | 5 x 8
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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

Review:

"The Legend of the Baal-Shem is not only a compilation of stories about the founder of modern Hasidism, but also acts as a key to help demystify the deep mystical tradition of Judaism. For those who like stories that reflect a piece of recent history, this is a good collection."--The Inner Directions Journal

Endorsement:

"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

Table of Contents:

FOREWORD 7
INTRODUCTION 9
The Life of the Hasidim 17
HITLAHAVUT: ECSTASY 17
AVODA: SERVICE 23
KAVANA: INTENTION 33
SHIFLUT: HUMILITY 41
The Werewolf 51
The Prince of Fire 56
The Revelation 62
The Martyrs and the Revenge 73
The Heavenly Journey 79
Jerusalem 82
Saul and David 87
The Prayer-Book 92
The Judgement 98
The Forgotten Story 107
The Soul Which Descended 121
The Psalm-Singer 131
The Disturbed Sabbath 139
The Conversion 149
The Return 161
From Strength to Strength 17,
The Threefold Laugh 179
The Language of the Birds 185
The Call 194
The Shepherd 202
GLOSSARY 209

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    File created: 9/23/2014

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