5 REVOLUTIONARY PRINCIPLES OF THE
BAAL SHEM TOV THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
By Simon Jacobson
Who of us has not suffered from boring Judaism? How about boredom in general? Does the monotonous routine of your daily life grind you down?
One of the great challenges in life is to feel exciting and passionate. Most of our human troubles stem from the vacuum created by plain boredom and lack of enthusiasm in our lives.
Besides for boredom there are many other factors in life that cause us to be anxious, restless, unfulfilled – and just plain empty.
Existential loneliness – the feeling that you are alone in the world and that your choices don’t make any real difference – is yet another deep root of anxiety.
In this issue, we will look to the Baal Shem Tov, whose yahrzeit we honor this Shavuot, for direction in addressing some of the most common challenges that we all face. To some the Baal Shem tov may be an unlikely place to turn to – after all, we pay our therapists to address these issues – yet, as we shall see, the Baal Shem Tov presented a powerful approach to life, based on the inner teachings of Torah (Chassidus), that has the ability to transform our lives.
Needless to say, the Baal Shem Tov was not just about healing maladies and solving problems. His major contributions electrified Torah scholars and mystics, as well as laypeople alike, in their devotion to G-d and their commitment to Torah and Mitzvot. But at the same time we are told that the Baal Shem Tov – whose name was Yisroel, the collective name of the Jewish people – came to revive and awaken the people of Israel from their spiritual slumber.
Overall, the Baal Shem Tov taught every person he came in contact with, to always look for the soul – the neshomo – in everyone you meet, in every experience you encounter, in every object and detail of your life.
Let us now focus on five teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, that train us to do just that – see the inside, rather than just the superficial outside, and to act upon it.