Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fwd Story of Shamanic Anger? Baal Shem Tov's Anger

This is a story that brought a bit of wondering about righteous anger in the bigger pictures of the multidimensions of reality into my studies today. I received it from a circle companion:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gershon Caudill
Date: Jul 19, 2006 7:07 PM

"Moshe became angry.." (Numbers 31:14)

And then there was the time the Lithuanians (called Litvaks), sent a man to observe the Baal Shem Tov and see if the stories about him were indeed true. The Litvak was received as an honored guest, since no one knew the realreason for his visit. He stayed as a guest in the house of Rabbi Yechiel of Kovel and ate his meals with the Baal Shem Tov.

Shabbos arrived and the Litvak felt a spiritual uplift from being in the presence of the Baal Shem Tov during the Maariv (evening) prayers. "My God," he thought, "everything they say about him is true!" Then, while still in this elated mood, he accompanied the Baal Shem Tov homefor the Shabbos evening meal.

As soon as the Baal Shem Tov entered his house, he became very angry at his servant and ordered him to the barn to save a horse that was being strangled to death. The servant quickly responded, "Rabbi, I'm going right now!"

Suddenly, the Baal Shem Tov yelled out in a fit of anger. "Didn't you hear me? I said go now!" Then, the Baal Shem Tov actually raised his hand as if to strike the servant. The servant went running from the house to thebarn and arrived just in time to save the horse. The Litvak was shocked to see the Baal Shem Tov display so much anger. "After such a meaningful davening (prayer)," he wondered, "how can he come home and get so angry over a horse, especially on Shabbos?"

The next morning, during the Shabbos prayers, again the Litvak was spiritually uplifted by the Baal Shem Tov's prayers. But this time, the display of fierce anger by the Baal Shem Tov clouded his mind. "I really can't ever remember seeing anyone being so angry as to raise his hand tostrike someone, even a servant. And especially on Shabbos."

Before the Litvak left for home, he couldn't stop himself from telling Rabbi Yechiel what happened. "Rabbi Yechiel, I must tell you, on Shabbos night when the Baal Shem Tov came home, he was so angry that he.." and he told him what had occurred. When he completed the story, he said, "The community in Lithuania will be very surprised about this behavior." As soon as he left, Rabbi Yechiel passed his comments onto the Baal Shem Tov.

The Baal Shem Tov responded with great annoyance in his voice. "Who are they to come here and judge me?" "Let me tell you what happened," he said. "A Jewish merchant was traveling by wagon right before Shabbos. He was rushing in the hope of finding avillage or inn for Shabbos. But before he could reach one, night fell and Shabbos arrived. He was forced to turn off the road and spend Shabbos in a field. Later that night, a band of thieves came upon the merchant and began to beat him. The thieves planned on killing him, taking his money and thewagon filled with his merchandise.

This Jewish merchant was so coarse that I could only make contact with him through an animal. So I arranged for thehorse to get caught up in a halter. Then, I frightened my servant, and the more I frightened him, the more the thieves were frightened. Finally, when I screamed at him and raised my hand to strike him, the thieves fled. ThisJewish merchant will soon come here to see me and you will hear from him thesame events." And so it was.

What a story! Intentional, shamanic, transformational use of anger is probably best left for the best, most expert practitioners...or perhaps there is a better explanation for this kind of story...or (most likely) there are all kinds of things on many levels going on in dreamings like this.


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