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The Soul of Hope - a Recording

An epic tale of the Baal Shem Tov

You can order this item via my on-line order form!

Cover of recording

The Complete Show on Two Cassettes or CDs!

The Soul of Hope

An epic tale of the Baal Shem Tov

"A fascinating story of Jewish spirit and myth...a Hasidic tale about combating despair, finding hope, and transforming the world. It's a spiritual adventure and a Jewish mystical epic."—Bruce McCabe, Boston Globe

The great Jewish mystic, the Baal Shem Tov, found the Gates of the Forest, rediscovered the sacred fire, learned the ancient prayer, and, for the first time in nearly two millenia, spoke the ineffable Name.

Now, we have nothing left but the story. Can that possibly be enough"

"It will touch somewhere deep within you and leave you a slightly different person."—Lee Sonko, Massachusetts

"This is a story which speaks to Jew and Gentile, to any listener who has sought and questioned, erred and succeeded, stayed alone in the darkness, then emerged to tell the story, whatever that story might be."—The Second Story Review

"Universal appeal...directly out of the storytelling tradition of Jewish life."—Kansas City Star

"As a Christian minister I fight the platonic idea of many of my colleagues that this world is to be forsaken for another realm. To search for the Divine sparks among us is a better way to live as humans....Gives hope to the story and to me personally."—Kent Busman, New York

"An inspirational tale!"—Boston Herald

"Explores the human dilemma of wanting to change the world while feeling inadequate to the task."—Boston Sunday Globe

Is it possible to heal the world?

In 1984, I heard a story that changed my life.

All my life, I had been trying unconsciously to reclaim my connection—to the universe as a whole and to every other human. I was attempting to find my place as just one person, but one who mattered in helping the world heal.

There were many who offered me paths to this healing. Religious institutions. Political movements. Psychologies. All claiming to be able to guide me.

But again and again I found that, for all the good they did, the institutions themselves created new problems for me. Hierarchical leadership. Petty politics. Distortions that had crept in, like sexism and elitism. The lurking idea that humans are basically bad. All too often, these obstacles and distortions turned promising paths for me into dead ends.

Still, I believed what the great mystics have always told us. As part of the great miracle of life, we have the ability to advance the trend toward connection, toward empowerment"and away from despair.

The story I heard in 1984 arose from the Jewish mystical sect known as Hasidism"a tradition filled with stories of wise, gentle men who spend their lives clinging to the source of life in the universe. Yet this story went beyond the others…. I had to hear it again...

When I first heard the germ of The Soul of Hope, I never thought I would tell it. I only knew it was a story I had to hear again and again. It spoke to some deep yearning; it stimulated a dormant but eager part of myself. I spent the next 13 years grappling with the issues the story brought up in my life, and the artistic issues of presenting this story to others.

The story, as I now tell it, is an epic. It takes place in heaven and on earth. It has dozens of characters. The main action spans seven generations, with flashbacks to the beginning of time.

But to me, The Soul of Hope is the most succinct way that I know to accurately portray the balance between two apparently contradictory truths. We are not yet all that we are meant to be; we are not fully capable of the task before us. But what we do matters enormously; and there is hope.

Who else has been changed by this story?

"A spiritual adventure filled with humor, joy, and pathos."—Ann Hall, Boston Sunday Globe

"Brilliant...Lipman takes the time necessary to develop the richness and the simplicity of the story. He uses music judiciously throughout, and manages to capture the joy and wonder of the Baal Shem Tov while maintaining an overall solemnity in keeping with the epic nature of the tale."—The Second Story Review

"He deserved every second of the five minute standing ovation he received at the end. If you have never heard it, you need to."—Jim Maroon, Texas

"I am grateful for your courage to bring such a work to life. I know it will continue to touch hearts and souls for it is a connector to the Divine."—Sr. Ellen Secci, csj, New York

"An incredible listening experience!"— Chuck Larkin, Georgia

"I loved it!...So very relevant to our times!"—Katie Green, Massachusetts

This audio recording:
  • contains the complete story on two cassettes or CDs
  • lasts two-and-a-quarter hours
  • features solo storytelling, with twelve-string guitar, flute, button-accordion, and percussion.
  • is punctuated with 50 brief musical pieces, composed especially for this recording.
Tape I:
  • Samael and the trials of Eliezer
  • The boy Israel
  • Rabbi Adam's son
  • The prayer of Shimon bar Yochai
  • The Most Holy Name
  • Bringing the Maschiach
Tape II:
  • Death of the Baal Shem Tov
  • The Maggid of Mezeritch
  • Elimelekh of Lizensk
  • Israel of Rizhin
  • Menachem-Mendl of Kotzk (the Kotzker rebbe)

"The first time I heard The Soul of Hope, I thought it was about the Baal Shem Tov.
The second time I heard it, I thought it was about Doug Lipman.
The third time I heard it, I thought it was about me." - Marni Gillard

You can also read about my personal journey in creating this story.

The Soul of Hope is a story that has its own home page!



$22.95 per 2-tape set in library case;
$29.95 for 2 CD set in library case,
plus shipping/handling.

Order on line!

Use my secure server to order via credit card. Or call, fax, email, or mail to the address below.



Doug Lipman

152 Wenonah Road, Longmeadow, MA 01106 U.S.A.
Phone: (781) 837-1940
Alternate Phone (rings the same line): (413) 754-6728
Fax (toll-free): (888) 300-6665

This page was last updated on Friday, November 28, 2003
Copyright©2003 Doug Lipman