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(yid)VIAF:64812822 (YIVO)

Israel ben Eliezer has 2 past events. (show)

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Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer was born in Okop, a small village the Podolia region on the Polish-Russian border (present-day Ukraine). He was orphaned as a small child and grew up to be first a teacher's assistant, then a caretaker in the local synagogue. In a town near Brody, he got a job as a teacher for young children. There he married Leah Rochel, the daughter of a rabbi, with whom he had two children. They moved to a small town in the Carpathian Mountains. Supported by his wife, Rabbi Israel studied Torah and mystical Jewish writings. By age 36, he had achieved a reputation as an outstanding scholar and a holy man and became known as the Baal Shem Tov ("Master of the Good Name"). His fame spread rapidly and he attracted followers who looked to him as a spiritual master and guide, eventually becoming the founder of the Hasidic movement. At the time of his death, Hasidism had grown to approximately 10,000 members and later included a significant portion of East European Jewry. He left no writings of his own, and much of what we know about his teachings comes from the writings of his disciples and successors in the movement.
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VIAF:64812822 (YIVO)

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