R. Israel Baal Shem Tov Davened Nusach Ashkenaz – ר’ ישראל בעל שם טוב התפלל נוסח אשכנז

On Shavuos is the yohrzeit of the founder of the Chasidic movement, R. Israel Baal Shem Tov.

It seems that there is significant evidence that he davened nusach Ashkenaz. A site devoted to him says as much.

See section ה. סידורי הבעש”ט, where the writer states וכידוע ומוכח שהבעש”ט הקדוש התפלל נוסח זה בלבד ולא שינה ממסורת אבות חסידי אשכנז (and as known, and is shown, that he davened that nusach alone and did not change from the tradition of his ancestors, the pious of Ashkenaz). Pretty strong words there (h/t).

There was an important, extensive article on this topic a few years ago by רב יש”י כהן in the קולמוס special Torah supplement of משפחה magazine, which can be seen here (at a Lubavitcher website – where, although some try to obfuscate things, the essential facts remain).

So for those of the Chasidic persuasion who want to follow in his footsteps, now you know what nusach to daven.

יה”ר שנזכה לקבלת התורה באמת ובפנימיות ע”פ המסורה הקדושה הישנה שלנו

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5 Responses to “R. Israel Baal Shem Tov Davened Nusach Ashkenaz – ר’ ישראל בעל שם טוב התפלל נוסח אשכנז”

  1. Reuven Brauner Says:

    Very, very interesting.

    Great research. Keep up the excellent work.

    Reuven Brauner

  2. David Says:

    Did Nusach Sephard even exist at that time?

  3. Joe in Australia Says:

    I don’t see a proof that the Besh”t davened Ashkenaz, particularly since your source acknowledges that he did change the nusach of kedusha for musaf. Of course his siddur was Ashkenaz – it’s obvious that a Kabbala-influenced nusach wouldn’t have been printed until it was further developed and there was a market for it. The significant thing is that this process had started in his day, and he was a party to it. Whether you think this is good or bad, it’s clear that he was willing to change minhagei avosav hakedoshim.

    • Treasures of Ashkenaz Says:

      The truth is that I was also wondering about that.

      But that question only relates to one part of what the Baal Shem Tov website writes. It appears that there are multiple bases on which its strong conviction that he davened nusach Ashkenaz rests, however. I hope to further investigate soon and report back.

      There is another thing to consider as well. You are assuming that the BESHT used a printed siddur, as is common nowadays. However, he may have used a hand written one instead. If you look at the end of the piece from the BESHT website it says שבסידור תפלה של הבעש”ט נכתב ברוך שאמר קודם הודו [והוא נוסח אשכנז]. Note that it says נכתב, written, rather than נדפס, printed. If the siddur was handwritten for him, something like what we might call custom made, and it still was nusach Ashkenaz, that is more significant.

      To be continued אי”ה.

      • Treasures of Ashkenaz Says:

        I looked into it a bit more and found in the קונטרס בית צדיקים, p.95, of pages of the siddur being handwritten by Reb Nachman of Horodenka, who was very close to the BESHT, and in those pages ברוך שאמר is before הודו, as is the way of נוסח אשכנז. There is additional information there as well.

        So if it was handwritten that way by one of the closest talmidim of the BESHT, it seems to be quite significant. They didn’t go into a local seforim store and buy an off the shelf siddur evidently.

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