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You yourself have remained unacquainted with sin all the days of your life, and you have had nothing to do with the people around you—how should you know what sinning is! But this morning I felt scarcely any weight on my shoulders. Still there was enough to make me do a little something—and that is what I just did. Suddenly he trembled and the trembling grew greater and greater.

They had seen this happen before while he prayed, but it had never been more than a slight quiver running through his body. Now he was violently shaken. When the reader had ended, and the Baal Shem was to go to the desk in his stead, they saw him stand in his place and tremble violently. One of his disciples went up to him and looked him in the face: it was burning like a torch and his eyes were wide open and staring like those of a dying man.

Another disciple joined the first; they took him by the hands, and led him to the desk. He stood in front of it and trembled. Trembling he recited the psalms and after he had said the Kaddish, he remained standing and trembled for a good while, and they had to wait with reading the Scriptures until his trembling had left him. One Simhath Torah evening, the Baal Shem himself danced together with his congregation.

He took the scroll of the Torah in his hand and danced with it. Then he laid the scroll aside and danced without it. Presently the storm died down, but the vessel had suffered damage and could not put out to sea again immediately. Some of the passengers, Rabbi Wolf among them, went ashore to have a look at the unfamiliar foreign landscape. The others turned back after a while, but he was so deep in meditation that he went on and on and finally came to a big house built in an old-fashioned style, which looked as if no one had ever lived in it.

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Only then did he remember that the ship would not wait for him, but before he could decide one way or another, a man in a linen garment appeared on the threshold. His features were age-old, his hair was white, but he bore himself erect. The morning after, you will be able to resume your journey. The Sabbath passed as in a dream. The next morning, the age-old man accompanied him down to the shore where his ship was lying at anchor, and blessed him in parting. Not until he was on the high seas did his mind clear. Then he recalled the words of his teacher and was seized with such bitter remorse that he resolved not to continue his voyage to the Holy Land, but to go home at once.

He spoke to one of the crew and gathered from his reply that he was already homeward bound. The world has need of every single human being. But there are those who always sit in their rooms behind closed doors and study, and never leave the house to talk with others. For this they are called wicked.

Tales of the Hasidim by Martin Buber: | Books

If they talked to others, they would bring to perfection something they are destined to make perfect. A learned man from Lithuania who was proud of his knowledge was in the habit of interrupting the sermons of Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev with all manner of hair-splitting objections. Time after time the zaddik invited him to visit him at his home for discussion of this kind, but the Lithuanian did not come but continued to appear in the House of Prayer, and interrupted the rabbi again and again.


Rabbi Barukh was told of this. These words were reported to the learned man. So he selected a difficult passage in the Book of Splendor and went to Mezbizh to ask Rabbi Barukh about it. When he came into the room, he saw the Book of Splendor lying on the desk and opened to the very passage he had in mind. But the zaddik anticipated him. How are we to interpret this? Why should he learn everything only to forget it? At first glance, it is not clear why God created forgetfulness. But the meaning of it is this: If there were no forgetting, man would incessantly think of his death.

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He would build no house, he would launch on no enterprise. That is why God planted forgetting within him. And so one angel is ordered to teach the child in such a way that it will not forget anything, and the second angel is ordered to strike him on the mouth and make him forget. But occasionally he fails to do this, and then I replace him. And now it is your turn. Recite the whole passage to me. He was an ignorant man! After that he became a servant in the House of Prayer in Berditchev.


He hid himself well and waited for his playmate to find him. When he had waited for a long time, he came out of his hiding-place, but the other was nowhere to be seen. Now Yehiel realized that he had not looked for him from the very beginning. This made him cry, and crying he ran to his grandfather and complained of his faithless friend. When Rabbi Abraham, the Angel, entered the room on his wedding-night, his face was more awe-inspiring than ever before, and his lips uttered dark sounds of lament.

His appearance and his voice terrified the bride to the secret core of her being, and she fell fainting to the ground.

Cedars of Lebanon: More Tales of the Hasidim

Until morning she lay in a fever. It is not necessary to approach the enemy in order to attack him. In fleeing from him, it is possible to circumvent him as he advances, and fall on him from the rear until he is forced to surrender. What is needed is not to strike straight at Evil but to withdraw to the sources of divine power, and from there to circle around Evil, bend it, and transform it into its opposite. Once Rabbi Abraham visited his father-in-law in Kremnitz.

The most distinguished members of the congregation assembled to welcome the holy man. But he turned his back on them and looked out of the window at the mountain at whose foot the city lay. Among those waiting for him was a man very much aware of his own learning and intent on his own importance. Have you never seen anything like it before? She leaned over one of the low windowsills and listened.

How without any admixture of false-hood!

The wife of Rabbi Pinhas once scolded her servant. A Jew is precious, very precious! The man was very simple-minded, and still unmarried although he was about forty years old. Once, when Rabbi Pinhas entered the House of Study, he saw that his disciples, who had been talking busily, stopped and started at his coming. For the time being, you are still pursuing it.