analysis of the legend of the baal-shem by martin buber.

Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on analysis of the legend of the baal-shem by martin buber. Living in the early 18th century, Baal-Shem braved rejection and scorn particularly from the rabbinical establishment and managed to attract a significant number of followers from the mystically inclined poor and common people.
In the first few chapters, Martin Buber reveals the struggle of self-understanding of the Jewish people that was particularly driven by their experience of alienation. From a literary perspective, Buber uses a cohesive literary composition to depict a new social dimension that was particularly founded by Baal-Shem Tov. The descriptive account of the twenty stories contained in the book is largely about the life of Hasidim and its founder, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer who was popularly known as Baal-Shem. Most of the stories contained in “The Legend of the Baal-Shem” were largely oral stories that were compiled by Baal-Shem Tov’s disciples who often described his immense spiritual powers, knowledge, and ability to predict the future (Dinner, 68). According to Hasidism, the Jewish people have always been associated with myth since the ancient times and this has particularly endangered Judaism. Consequently, Buber argues that a positive religion should be based on the simplification of the manifold forces that subdue the fullness of existence. He believed that a great part of the history of Judaism has been concerned with the fight against myths. For example, the early prophets fought against the myths and impulses of the people of their time.
Buber (67), suggests that Baal-Shem Tov strongly championed the panentheistic conception of God. For example, as the founder of Hasidism, he shared the belief that the entire universe, matter, and mind are all but a manifestation of Divinity. As opposed to the conception of Kabbalah, the panentheistic conception of God is based on the theory that God reveals himself in all things.
 
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