Made For Greatness

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The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Baruch of Medzhibozh zl (1753-1811) is commemorated on the 18th of Kislev. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

The Baba Kama Acrostic

It was a Simchat Torah celebration, and the close inner circle of disciples of our master, the Baal Shem Tov, (may his merit shield us), were making merry and dancing in a circle. The energy of Shechinah glowed all around them.

In the middle of the circle, the shoe of one of the Chevrah tore, and because of this, it was just not possible for him to dance with the Chevrah; to revel in the joy of this mitzvah and, he regretted this greatly.

A voice called to him. It was the righteous Udel, daughter of the Besht (ah) for, she had been watching their rejoicing and their holy passion from the side. She said to him that if he gave his word that she would, with surety, give birth that very year to a male child, without hesitation, she would give him a good pair of shoes. He gave her his word that, without a doubt, she would give birth that very year to a male child.

And so it came to pass: In that year our holy Rabbi, the Rabbi Reb Baruch (may his merit shield us) was born.

During the time when he was still in his youth, it was truly clear that he had been made for greatness.

When he reached the age to begin to study gemara, his grandfather, the Besht, asked him which Masechta he is studying, he answered him that he is studying Baba Kama. The Baal Shem Tov asked further from what commentary of Baba Kama are you learning, he answered: Baba Kama acrostic:

ב’רוך ב’ן א’דיל ק’דוש מ’בטן א’מו / B‘aruch B‘en U‘del K‘adosh M‘ibeten I‘mo / Baruch son of Udel holy from birth! (Lit., from the womb of his mother)

(The Total Enlightener, page 8).

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