This unique book reviews the enigmatic figure of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, Ba'al Shem Tov (1699-1760) through two of his most prominent disciples - Rabbi Jacob Joseph of Polonne, and Rabbi Dov Ber,the Maggid of Mezeritch.
The Ba'al Shem Tov inspired the foundation of the Hasidic Movement, which revived and changed the Jewish religion and Jewish religiosity in the modern era. The Ba'al Shem Tov did not leave any writings, but his omnipotent presence still inspires the history and the existence of the Hasidic movement. His voice was never heard; he was, and still is, missing and present at the same time.
This study is an essential contribution not only for the understanding of the beginning of Hasidism, but also for the understanding of some of the developments of Jewish mysticism in the era between the death of ha'ARI (R. Isaac Luria Ashkenazi) and the death of the Ba'al Shem Tov. Prof Moshe Idel