Updated: Jul 18
The Baal Shem Tov's actions inspire us to seek the Divine in every person and to recognize the sacred duty of education and guidance. * On the Hayom Yom of 16 Tammuz.
The Hayom Yom entry for the 16th of Tammuz states: "The Maggid said: If only we could kiss a sefer-Torah with the same love that my Master kissed the children when he took them to cheder as a teacher's assistant!"
Now, on the surface, this statement might appear puzzling. Why would the Maggid compare the love shown to children with that shown to a Torah scroll? After all, a sefer-Torah represents the word of God, the holiest of writings, while children are young and inexperienced.
But herein lies the profound lesson: The Baal Shem Tov's love for children and his deep reverence for a sefer-Torah are not separate matters. In fact, they are interconnected and reflect the essence of the Hasidic approach to spirituality.
Chassidic teachings emphasize that the Divine presence is found not only in the sacred texts but also within each human soul. Just as a sefer-Torah contains the wisdom of God, so too does each child embody the potential for greatness, goodness, and purity. The Baal Shem Tov saw the Divine spark in every child he encountered and treated them with immense love and respect.
The comparison also highlights the Baal Shem Tov's belief in the power of education. He served as a teacher's assistant in a cheder (Jewish primary school) and instilled within the children a love for their heritage and a thirst for knowledge. The act of teaching and nurturing young minds was, to him, akin to the reverence one shows when handling a sefer-Torah.
This lesson finds resonance in classic Torah commentary as well. In the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim 6:7), we are commanded to teach the words of the Torah diligently to our children. The connection between Torah and education is evident, and the Baal Shem Tov's actions exemplify this profound teaching.
Today's Hayom Yom entry reminds us of the unity between the love we show to our fellow human beings, especially the young, and our reverence for the Torah. The Baal Shem Tov's actions inspire us to seek the Divine in every person and to recognize the sacred duty of education and guidance.
Let us strive to emulate his example and discover the Divine light that shines within each soul we encounter on our life's journey.