baʿal shem

also spelled  Baalshem, or Balshem (Hebrew: “master of the name”),  plural  Baʿale Shem, Baaleshem, or Baleshem,  

      in Judaism, title bestowed upon men who reputedly worked wonders and effected cures through secret knowledge of the ineffable names of God. Benjamin ben Zerah (11th century) was one of several Jewish poets to employ the mystical names of God in his works, thereby demonstrating a belief in the efficacy of the holy name long before certain rabbis and Kabbalists (followers of esoteric Jewish mysticism) were popularly called baʿale shem. During the 17th and 18th centuries there appears to have been a proliferation of baʿale shem in eastern Europe. Traveling the countryside, these men were said to have performed cures by means of herbs, folk remedies, and the tetragrammaton (four Hebrew letters signifying the ineffable name of God). They also inscribed amulets with the names of God to assist in their cures and were reported to have been especially efficacious in exorcising demons. Because the baʿale shem of this period, especially in Poland and Germany, combined faith healing with practical Kabbala (use of sacred formulas and amulets), they frequently clashed with physicians, against whom they competed. They were, moreover, constantly ridiculed both by rabbinic authorities and by followers of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskala).

      Preeminent among the baʿale shem was Israel ben Eliezer, commonly called Baʿal Shem Ṭov (or simply the Beshṭ), founder of the social and religious movement known as Ḥasidism. He was not, like many others, merely a magician or exorcist but an effective religious leader whose message won a large and lasting following.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shem — (Hebrew Name|שֵׁם|Šem|Šēm ; Greek: Σημ, Sēm ; Arabic: ar. سام ; Ge ez: ሴም, Sēm ; renown; prosperity; name ) was one of the sons of Noah in the Bible. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second …   Wikipedia

  • Shem Tov ben Abraham ibn Gaon — (1283 ca. 1330) (Hebrew: שם טוב בן אברהם אבן גאון) was a Spanish Talmudist and kabbalist. Biography Shem Ṭob was born at Soria, Spain. From his genealogy given in the preface to his Keter Shem Ṭob, Azulai ( Shem ha Gedolim, ii., s.v. Keter Shem… …   Wikipedia

  • Shem Tov Ben Joseph Falaquera — Shem Tov Shem Tov est un nom hébraïque, signifiant le Bon Nom, c est à dire la bonne renommée. On dit que certains d entre eux sont d ascendance davidique. Les guérisseurs sont souvent désignés comme porteurs de bonne renommée (Baal Shem Tov), d… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • SHEM — (Heb. שֵׁם), eldest son of Noah, father of the Semitic peoples, including the Hebrew people. The meaning of the name is uncertain. It is possibly to be explained as Hebrew, meaning fame, name, appellation. The Akkadian šumu, which is the same… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov — (c. 1390 ndash; c. 1440) (Hebrew: שם טוב אבן שם טוב) was a Spanish kabbalist and fierce opponent of rationalistic philosophy.BiographyShem Tov was president of a yeshivah in Spain. He lived about 1390 1440 (Gedaliah ibn Yaḥya, Shalshelet ha… …   Wikipedia

  • Shem-Tob ben Isaac of Tortosa — Shem Ṭob ben Isaac of Tortosa (born at Tortosa 1196) was a Provençal rabbi and physician.LifeHe engaged in commerce, and travelled. Once at Acre, he was reminded by its rabbi of his insufficient knowledge of the Jewish religion; and he left the… …   Wikipedia

  • Shem Mishmuel — (שם משמואל) is the name of a nine volume collection of inspirational essays on the Torah and Jewish holidays delivered by Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain, the second Sochatchover Rebbe, between the years 1910 1926. [Landau.] A major work in Hasidic… …   Wikipedia

  • SHEM-TOV, VICTOR — (1915– ), Israeli politician, member of the Fifth, Sixth, Tenth, and Eleventh Knessets. Shem Tov was born in the town of Samokov, Bulgaria. As a youth he was a member of the Maccabi ha Ẓa ir youth movement. He attended high school in Sofia, and… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera — Shem Tov ben Joseph ibn Falaquera, also spelled Palquera (1225 ndash; c. 1290) (Hebrew: שם טוב בן יוסף אבן פלקירה) was a Spanish philosopher and poet. He was well versed in Arabic and Greek philosophy, and had a fine critical sense. Falaquera… …   Wikipedia

  • Shem — /shem/, n. the eldest of the three sons of Noah. Gen. 10:21. * * * (as used in expressions) baal shem Baal Shem tov Moses ben Shem Tov * * * …   Universalium

  • Shem Creek Inn — (Чарльстон,США) Категория отеля: 3 звездочный отель Адрес: 1401 Shrimp Boat Lane, Mou …   Каталог отелей

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.