Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Ba'al Shem Tov

Byname of �Israel Ben Eliezer, �acronym �Besht� charismatic founder (c. 1750) of Hasidism, a Jewish spiritual movement characterized by mysticism and opposition to secular studies and Jewish rationalism. He aroused controversy by mixing with ordinary people, renouncing mortification of the flesh, and insisting on the holiness of ordinary bodily existence. He was also responsible


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