Ba’al Shem Tov, Israel (1700–1760). The inspiration for Hassidism, a religious renewal movement that swept through Eastern Europe from 1750 through the 19th century. The Ba’al Shem Tov maintained that the study of Talmud was not the exclusive way to serve God. One could serve God through all commandments and all human activities as long as one’s awareness was so directed. He had a small group of followers who spread his teachings throughout Eastern Europe. These tzaddikim, or righteous ones, lent their own style and personality to the message of the Ba’al Shem Tov.
Courtesy: Professor Shai Cherry