Friday, May 25, 2012

The Last Revelation

There is a tradition that King David passed away on Shavuos: in the year 2924 [837 BCE].  Read more here: The Shepherd Who Became King

The Baal Shem Tov also left this world on Shavuos:

On the day of his passing from the world [the first day of Shavuos], the Baal Shem Tov was in his bed surrounded by his closest chassidim. Only Reb Hershelah Tzvi, the Baal Shem Tov's only son, was absent.

The chassidim warily asked, "Rebbe, don't you want to give your son a few last instructions?"

The Baal Shem Tom answered with a sigh, "How can I? He is still sleeping."

A few Chassidim rushed out to wake Reb Hershelah. "Reb Hershelah, quick, wake up, your father the Rebbe is getting ready to leave the world."

"Oh no," answered Reb Hershelah with a shock, "that's impossible! I don't believe my father is passing on to the next world."

"Reb Hershelah," they said with a solemn voice, "the Rebbe said that he will leave the world today."

Reb Hershelah quickly dressed and rushed to his father's room. When he arrived at his father's side, Reb Hershelah started weeping, "Father, father, please don't leave us."

The Baal Shem Tov reached out and held his son's hand. "My dear son, I'm going to depart from this world. One thing I want you to know is that you have a very holy soul. When your mother and I conceived you, the very Heavens shook. At that time, I had the power to bring any soul I chose, even that of Adam HaRishon [the first man]. But I selected your soul because it was very holy and possessed all that you will need."

"Please father, tell me something before you depart," begged Reb Hershelah. So the Baal Shem Tov started to speak to his son, but his voice was barely audible.

"Father, I can't understand what you are trying to tell me," said Reb Hershelah in a distraught voice.

The Baal Shem Tov gathered his strength and spoke louder, "My dearest son, there is nothing that I can do now. Just listen and remember this Name." Then the Baal Shem Tov motioned to his son to come closer. Reb Hershelah bent down very near to his father and the Baal Shem Tov whispered the Name to him. Then he said, "Whenever you concentrate on this Name, I will come and study with you."

Reb Hershelah spoke, "But what if I forget the Name?"

"Come close to me again," said the Baal Shem Tov, "and I'll tell you a way of remembering the Name."
After the Baal Shem Tov whispered the way to remember to Reb Hershelah, he closed his eyes and his soul ascended.

And to this day, no one knows the Name or how to remember the Name.

And so it was.

Freely adapted by Tzvi Meir HaCohane Cohn from a story in SHIVCHEI HABAAL SHEM TOV and translated in IN PRAISE OF THE BAAL SHEM TOV by Mintz and Ben Amos.

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