Tribe-In-Depth Article – Yakov, Madonna and the Baal Shem Tov
As Madonna herself said presenting her books Mr Peabody’s Apples and Yakov and the Seven Thieves, these two tales are inspired by
nearly 300 year old stories by “The Baal Shem Tov, which translated into english means “The master of the good name”
The life of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov is surrounded by mystery. As founder of what is possibly the single most important religious movement in Jewish history, Chassidus, many legends have grown around him and it is difficult to know what is historical fact. Even the year of his birth is a matter of controversy, some sources say it was 1700.
There are so many stories by the Baal Shem Tov and all of them are very interesting and always deliver beautiful metaphores. While reading them we found the roots of what have become Mr Peabody Apples and Yakov and the seven thieves and we got the precise idea of the wonderful work Madonna did by putting the essence of these timeless old stories into a whole new frame and giving them a fresh new approach also adding new perfectly described characters so that both children and grown ups can enjoy them.
Today in this Tribe-In-Depth article we take a look at the story by The Baal Shem Tov that partly inspired Yakov.
In the original tale the Baal Shem Tov gathered ten righteous
men (tzaddikim) to pray for a very sick child, but his conditions didn’t improve. As a last resort, The Baal Shem Tov went to the edge of his village and gathered together ten thieves asking them to pray for the child’s life. Miracolously their prayers helped and the child recovered.
Many people were surprised by the fact that the prayers of 10 Thieves could achieve what the prayers of 10 tzaddikim couldn’t. The Baal Shem Tov wisely explained that he saw that all the gates in heaven were sealed, and so he needed “someone to break in”
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