In the early eighteenth century, the Hasidic movement was started by the one and only Baal Shem Tov. His real name was Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer, but he was called the Baal Shem Tov because of the miracles that seemed to come from his prayers.
Whenever he sensed the Jewish community in his native Ukraine was in danger, he would go to to a special area in the nearby forest. He would ritually light a fire and then recite a special prayer. Miraculously, every time he did this, the danger would pass.
After the great rabbi’s death, one of his disciples, Maggid of Mezritch, became the leader of the community. One day he too sensed danger. He went to the same special area in the forest. “Master of the Universe,” he prayed, I am here in the holy spot, but I don’t know the special prayer. I hope it’s enough. The rabbi said the prayer, and miraculously the danger passed.
Years followed, and Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sasov, who succeeded Rabbi Maggid, again saw danger looming. As his predecessors did, he went to the special place in the forest and prayed. “Master of the Universe,” he prayed, I don’t know how to light the ritual fire, I am here in the holy spot, but I don’t know the special prayer. And I am not the Baal Shem Tov, I hope it’s enough.” Once again the peril was averted.
Later the mantle of leadership settled on Rabbi Israel of Rizhin. Again misfortune threatened the community. This time the rabbi, sitting in his armchair, head in his hands, prayed to God: Master of the Universe,” he prayed, I don’t know how to light the ritual fire, I don’t know the special prayer to recite. And I don’t even know the holy spot in the forest, And I am not the Baal Shem Tov. The best I can do is remember the rabbis who came before me and ask for your help. I hope it’s enough.”
And it still is.
Lead From Within: Miracles come to those who do the best they can.
© 2014 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.
16. Sep, 2010
Excellent lesson here, Lolly: a great reminder of the importance of doing the best we can do.
16. Sep, 2010
When you live a life that is less than your best, you have less to give to the world.
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