Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov - From The Great Mission
Type of Spiritual Experience
What we are apt to forget is that a prayer repeated over and over again is actually a mantra
The following simple story is intended to help people understand that simplicity is key, that vast rambling prayers of great complexity do not help.
It is not in fact that they cause ‘great delight in Heaven’, but that because they are simple, easily remembered and repeated over and over and over again, they help to still the mind.
A description of the experience
The Great Mission: the life and story of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov - Eli Friedman, Kehot
On his 16th birthday, the Baal Shem Tov wandered into the open fields to meditate on the significance of the day. He had been lodging at a local inn in a nearby village, managed by Aaron Shlomo the innkeeper and his wife Zlata Rivka.
The simplest Jews, they were barely literate in daily prayers. but both were God fearing, and praised God at every opportunity. "Blessed is He forever!" offered the innkeeper, while his wife would say, "Blessed be His Holy Name." In the fields the Baal Shem Tov recited Psalms with great feeling, concentrating on the various mystical intentions associated with each verse, that his mentor the hidden Tzadik Rabbi Chaim had imbued him with. Immersed in spiritual thought, he suddenly saw Elijah the Prophet standing before him. Although he had merited such visions before with the other mystics, he was humbled by this first vision alone, a smile on the Prophet's countenance.
Said the Prophet, "You invest such effort in meditation, trying to attain lofty levels, while the hearfelt words said by Aaron Shlomo and his wife cause a delight in Heaven, more than the commotion caused by the esoteric meditations of the righteous. When God is blessed, this causes great satisfaction on High, particularly when offered by simple folk, whose sincere faith unites them constantly with the Creator."