Dov Ber of Mezeritch

Rabbi Dov Baer of Mezritch (* 1710 in Rovno, † at December 15, 1772 probably in Mezritch, Volyn, Rivne east, now Ukraine), known as the Maggid of Mezritch or the Great Maggid, was a rabbi and by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tow the second leader of the Chassidic movement. Instead Mezritch Meseritz also is common in the name.


Dov Baer was born at the beginning of the 18th century in a small town in Volhynia near Rovno, his date of birth has not been established. As a youth, he received a traditional religious education in the yeshiva of Jacob Joshua Falk. He taught in Torchin, later in Korez and nearby Rovno, then settled in Mezritch in Volhynia, which became the center of the Hasidic movement, and moved towards the end of his life to enable Annopol. He became a learned Talmudist and also ran in-depth studies of the Qabalistic system, which had been founded by Isaac Luria. After he had undergone numerous ascetic practices, he became bedridden and searched according to tradition healing of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov. Dov Baer became one of his foremost disciples, and after the death of the Baal Shem Tov, in 1760 Dov Baer was widely regarded as his successor in the leadership of Hasidism, although his authority was first denied by some. In contrast to his predecessor Dov Baer was not a " man of the people ", and his illness difficult for him to deal with his students. However, he was an eloquent preacher and teacher, and his charismatic skills that were expressed in everyday activities, were admired by many. Salomon Maimon, who visited him as a young man, admiring his mental faculties, and other students to Dov Baer visited, " to see how he put on his shoes and the laces firmly tied ." Hasidism, who had initially restricted to the region of Podolia, now spread throughout the Ukraine, Lithuania and many parts of Poland. Towards the end of his life came Dov Baer on the part of orthodox rabbis, especially of the Gaon of Vilna, fierce resistance. They turned especially against the ecstatic body movements, which were common in Hasidic worship, and against the alleged neglect of Torah study by adolescent students who moved in droves to Mezritch to meet there their master. Finally, the Gaon of Vilna in 1772 spoke a spell over the Hasidim from. A short time later died Dov Baer. The teachings and observations of Dov Baer were not written by him, but have been preserved in the works of his numerous pupils. These include Pinchas and Samuel Horowitz, Elimelech of Lyschansk, Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev, Israel Hapstein of Koschnitz and Schneur Zalman of Ljadi.

His teachings

At the heart of the doctrine of Dov Baer is the concept of Dewekut (Hebrew "dedication "). This is a panentheistic perception of God and the world, according to which the essence of God includes all existence: " The whole earth is the Holy One, blessed be He, and the world is within the Creator." For this concept follows Baer's understanding of man, which is based on an increased appreciation of the metaphysical area. By internal reflection and contemplation the divine emanation allows a close and direct relationship with the root of being, and the tzaddik is takes up to a medium that direct contact with God. However, according to Dow Baer's theory can contact with the Divine every human being, and as the charismatic figure of the tzaddik loses its function as a mediator between man and God. End of man is to overcome the specific cosmic reality and return to the mystical Nothing (Hebrew 'ayin ), which existed before creation ( " God created existence out of nothing, and he creates nothing out of existence "). Thus, human existence is understood as descent, the climb a must follow. The soul rises from the heights down to collect the material existence by their spiritual exaltation and so restore the unity which had been disturbed by the work of creation.