University of Pittsburgh

Baal Shem Tobh, Israel ben Eliezer

founder of Hasidism, 1700-1760

Fishburn and Hughes: "A Hebrew word, meaning 'master of the Name' the person who knows how to use God’s name. Israel ben Eliezer (c.1700-1760) was known as Baal Shem Tov. He originated from Podolia and was the founder of eighteenth-century Polish Hasidism. The title Baal Shem is based on his belief in the miraculous power of the Sacred Name, which he invoked to work miracles. 
Any biography of Baal Shem would necessarily be highly fictional, since he left no writings and the little we know of him is interwoven with legend. Borges may, however, be referring to Martín Buber's Die Legende des Baalschem (1908: trans. 1955)". (21)

Borges Index: 
La muerte y la brújula, Ficciones, OC, 500. Israel, Elogio de la sombra, OC, 997.