Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

The Jewish Exponent

Start Page



Legend, not history, tells the life story of the Baal Shem Tov. The chroniclers of his day hardly noticed the folk healer from Medzhibozh who wandered around the 18th-century Jewish communities of the Ukraine, and later achieved fame as the founder of the Hasidic movement. The rabbinical authorities made no mention of him in their writings and the community leaders did not consider him a force to reckon with. But there he was: a Besht (abbreviated from of Baal Shem Tov, "a master of good name") traveling with his small retinue of amulet writers from one small Jewish community to another, offering his mystical powers to cure the sick and the barren.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Originally published by The Jewish Exponent © 1973.



Date Posted: 22 September 2017