The Ba'al Shem Tov Wisdom- Keter Shem Tov: Procreative letters

chassidut Dec 17, 2018

#21 What Is Within A Word?

The Ba’al Shem Tov says that infinite possibilities are hidden within either a spoken or written word. בא אל התיבה״- go into the arc”, the word Teiva- arc, also means word. The Ba’al Shem Tov says means the meaning of this verse is that we go not just into the arc but into the word.

On a similar note it says “male and female should enter the arc”. The Ba’al Shem Tov explains that there are “2 meanings in all words, the male aspect and the female”. Kabbalah explains that  the male aspect is more connected to mercy while the female is connected to judgement.

Meaning that we can analyze the meaning of things in their negative or positive way.

The idea here is that we should view words, not just of the Torah but of people and ourselves in their positive light.


#22 Procreative Information

The Talmud - Berachot 63b says “they lectured in a congregation of Torah”.  The Mishnah- Pirkei Avot (Ethics Of Our Fathers 6,3) says “who ever learns from his friend 1 chapter, one law, or even one letter, must act in respect to that person. This is learned by expo facto from King David who only learned 2 things from Achitophel (the wicked advisor of King Saul) and nevertheless treated him with respect.

The Ba’al Shem Tov asks 1. what does the Mishna mean when it says that King David learned “2 things”. 2. Why is this lesson learned by expo facto and not simply derived?

The answer: information is transformational, or not, depends who is teaching. If a righteous teacher- rabbi is teaching, then the information “procreates” within the students mind and becomes much more than a concept it becomes an anchor for a new way of understanding.

However, if the teacher is wicked and is motivated by self interest, then the information which they transmit is limited to the literal intellectual understanding.

This is why it says that Kind David learned only 2 things from Achitophel. The 2 nuggets of info were not coming from a positive place and therefore they were limited to being only 2 ideas.

Where as (answering question #2) if the community is that of righteousness, then the learning accomplished is transmitted to everyone in the community and real associative and transformational learning happens.


#23 It’s All Within One Word

Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon (listen to class for more) says that the the entire Torah is included within the Ten Commandments (613 words). The Ba’al Shem Tov that so too the entire Torah is included within just one letter (“Go into the arc”).

The path to this type of learning is the teacher. If the teacher comes from the “world of unity” then everything is united within the one letter…

If the teacher however comes from the “world of separation”, then the learning is disjointed.

This is why King David only learned “2 things from Achitophel”.


#24 Purpose Of Life

The purpose of life is to break one’s natural inclinations/ tendencies / thoughts. This is what G-d says to Abraham (and to every one of us..) “go out of you land, birthplace and father’s house”.

Our “birthplace” is the nature/ nurture part of our selves. Our “father’s house” is our thoughts (father is connected to Chochma-wisdom/thoughts). When we break out of the cycle of nature and our own negative thought patterns, we “go to the land which I will show you”, our true higher self.


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