Entrance to the Ba'al Shem Tov's cave
Entrance to the Ba'al Shem Tov's caveOholei Tzadikim

The cave in which the Ba'al Shem Tov (Rabbi Yisrael Ba'al Shem Tov) meditated has been found, Vizhnitz-hasidic historical researchers said.

The Ba'al Shem Tov was the founder of the hasidic movement. He lived from 1698 to 1760.

The cave is located near the city of Kuty, Ukraine.

During the time the Ba'al Shem Tov lived in Kuty, he spent much time meditating in the mountains near the city. He also had a cave near the top of one of the mountains, where he would learn Torah.

Vizhnitz hasidim from "Hagan Hanaeh" are researching the beginnings of hasidism. Two years ago, they began searching for the Ba'al Shem Tov's cave, led by descriptions in various sources. However, even after undertaking thorough searches, they did not succeed in locating the site.

The only cave they did find was known to be the home of a well-known brigand, the hero of the Ukraine's Hutsuls tribe.

At the beginning of last summer, the hasidim spoke with Kuty's Hutsuls, and discovered, to their shock, that the Ba'al Shem Tov would use a ritual bath near the Vizhenka River and that he would seclude himself in a cave near Kuty.

Some of them noted that the location of the Ba'al Shem Tov's cave had been told to them by their fathers. However, they said, reaching the cave is extremely difficult, since it is located at the top of the mountain in the midst of a significant amount of undergrowth.

The person who found the cave's exact location was Rabbi Yisrael Meir Gabbay, head of the "Oholei Tzadikim" organization. Rabbi Gabbay found the cave using various technological devices, and he is planning to build an access road for the benefit of hasidim and history lovers.