Descent Of Kabbalists

When a Kabbalist experiences a state of spiritual descent, all of his prior attainments vanish from his consciousness. The higher he ascends, the greater the descents between them.

For example, once, Baal Shem Tov told his assistant that he wanted to set out for the Holy land immediately. They boarded the first departing ship. On the way, they encountered a storm, and the ship was swept off course. On the third day, the storm subsided and sea calmed.

They stopped on an island, and everyone went to explore since this island was unfamiliar to the sailors. Bal Shem Tov and his assistant wandered away and got lost. Suddenly, they were attacked by bandits who tied them up and began sharpening their knives.

The assistant asked Bal Shem Tov to do something immediately. His response was, “Right now, I don’t know a thing. All of my strength was taken away from me. Maybe you remember something that I’ve taught you? Remind me.”

The assistant answered, “I don’t know anything either. All I remember is the alphabet.” Bal Shem Tov yelled out, “Why don’t you recite it to me?”

The assistant began reciting the letters of the alphabet, and Bal Shem Tov repeated them out loud with great inspiration until he gained all of his strength back and ripped the ropes apart.

They heard a bell ringing and saw the old captain appear along with soldiers. He scared off the bandits and freed the captives. Then, he took them back to the ship and soon delivered them to Istanbul.

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