A letter from Rabbi Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov to his brother in-law, Rebbe Gershon of Kitov

On Rosh Hashanah of the year 5507 (1746 CE) I performed, by means of an oath, an elevation of soul, as known to you, and saw wondrous things I had never seen before. What I saw and learned there is impossible to convey in words, even face to face… I ascended from level to level until I entered the chamber of the Mashiach, where theMashiach learns Torah with all the Tanaim and tzadikim and also with the Seven Shepherds… I asked the Mashiach, “When will the Master come?” And he answered, “By this you shall know: When your teachings will become public and revealed in the world, and your wellsprings burst forth to the farthest extremes–that which I have taught you and you have comprehended–and they also shall be able to perform unifications and elevations as you, then all of the “shells” will cease to exist, and there shall be a time of good will and salvation.”

I stood in wonder and great distress as to the length of time necessary for this, when could this be? But from what I learned there–three potent practices and three Holy Names, easy to learn and explain–my mind settled and I thought that possibly by means of these, men of my nature will be able to achieve levels similar to mine… But I was not given permission all my life to reveal this… But this I may inform you and may G-d help you, your way shall ever be in the presence of G-d and never leave your consciousness in the time of your prayer and study. Every word of your lips intend to unite: for in every letter there are Worlds, Souls and Divinity, and they ascend and connect and unify with each other, and afterward the letters connect and unify to become a word, and (then) unify in true unification in Divinity. Include your soul with them in each and every state. And all the Worlds unify as one and ascend to produce an infinitely great joy and pleasure, as you can understand from the joy of groom and bride in miniature and physicality, how much more so in such an exalted level as this. Surely G-d will be your aid and wherever you turn you will succeed and reach greater awareness. “Give to the wise and he will become ever wiser”.

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