|A sample of the writing of the Rav of Rashkov, the scribe who copied the Sefer haTzoref for the Baal Shem Tov (see Document 32).|
Another reason was that he represented the ‘ki tov’ as referred in Genesis (G-d saw that the light was ‘good’). And he, therefore, represents another step closer to the ‘Light of Messiah’.
While he may have, as is usually explained, hidden his scholarship from all those around him until he turned 36 when he revealed himself to the world (this is actually borne out by one letter where he apologises to R. Gershon Kitover) - there are other (later) letters where he calls for assistance from the Maggid (or R. Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye) to debating with their opponents because they knew how to ‘argue according to the Talmud’.
There is also a letter where, after receiving the ‘secret teachings’ he admits openly that does not understand them and needs someone to explain them to him.
There was also an obsession with numbers and it appears as if the reason why the Maggid was appointed to take over the reins from the Baal Shem Tov (instead of R. Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye) was specifically that he would have a ‘double portion’ of followers.
- In this series of letters, dated 1735 – 1740, we read how the Baal Shem Tov, who was prohibited from travelling to Israel by his teacher, R. Adam Baal Shem Tov, was going to try to change his teacher’s mind and join his brother-in-law on his journey to the Holy Land. (Doc. 312)
- There is another letter from R. Adam Baal Shem Tov referring to the ‘secret writings’ which had to reach the Baal Shem Tov and no one else. (Doc. 18)
- There is an interesting letter which could imply that the Baal Shem Tov did not just receive the ‘secret writings’ from R. Adam, but perhaps also from the rabbinical figure and Head of the Court, R. Chaim Rappoport. (Doc. 279)
- And there is a letter from the Baal Shem Tov which, taken in a literal sense, paints him as being perhaps not as humble as we would have imagined. (Doc. 27)