The Tremble of Love: A Novel of the Baal Shem Tov is inspired by the legendary spiritual master known as the Baal Shem Tov who beckoned forth love from the hearts of rag pickers, ruby merchants, midwives and murderers.
Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1703
The villagers of Okup give up on a strange orphan, as hard to tame as the wind. But young Yisroel, guided by a presence his father assured would never abandon him, finds his way to teachers who recognize his unusual healing gifts and rare compassion.
Yisroel's retreat to a remote mountain abode only feeds his fire. After anguishing battles with doubt, he finally embraces a destiny he can neither fathom nor deny.
The Baal Shem Tov, the Good Master of the Name, as Yisroel becomes known, sees sacredness everywhere—as much in women, children and the poor as in the most learned of his brethren. He prays with joyous abandon, declares simple deeds to be worship, and counsels finding the divine within.
Denounced as an inept fool, then a dangerous heretic, the Baal Shem Tov faces mounting opposition to his irreverent practices. Among the established religious and communal authorities fiercely opposed to the Baal Shem Tov is a prominent rabbi, who sets out to destroy the irrepressible master and his growing community of followers.
This rich reimagining of the life of one of Judaism's most revered and revolutionary mystics transports readers back in time to experience the indomitable presence and power of love.