essence of hassidut

I started learning the Tzava'at HaRivash, (parts of it are online, here.) collected teachings of the Baal Shem Tov.

It's kind of nice to see all of the teachings centralized in one place instead of receiving them through so many different forms of Hassiduth through the different sefarim. Each one has a tremendous amount to add, but at the same time, they're all rooted here, in the Baal Shem Tov's revellations.

It's not a huge sefer, which is another plus about it. It's chock full of the most amazing divrei Torah without almost any filler, which can be a little over-dense for some, but I like to receive it all at once.

I don't know the history of the sefer, like when it was published and who compiled it, and if it was compiled after the fact from a number of different sources. Actually, I just found a page on chabad.org that deals with the origins of the Tzava'at HaRivash.

So, having read that, I still think it's a great reference work for the major Hassidic chidushim of the Baal Shem Tov that lead to the entire effect of Hassidut on the world.

Here's the first Torah in the Tzava'at HaRivash for your enjoyment. (paraphrased)

הוי זהיר במצוה קלה כמצוה חמורה - "take care with a simple mitzwah as with a serious mitzwah." That's the literal translation of the mishna in Pirkei Avot 2:1, but the Baal Shem Tov tells us that the word for 'take care' also means 'become bright' or 'enlighten' coming from the same root as the name of the Holy text the Zohar. Which means, we need to enlighten every mitzwah--perform each mitzwah with light and fervor, whether the mitzwah may seem more or less important.


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