Some students of the Baal Shem Tov came to him one day with a question. "Every year we travel here to learn from you. Nothing could make us stop doing that. But we have learned of a man in our own town who claims to be a tzaddik, a righteous one. If he is genuine, we would love to profit from his wisdom. But how will we know if he is a fake?"
Shem Tov looked at his earnest hasidim. "You must test him by asking him a
question." He paused. "You have had difficulty with stray thoughts
The hasidim answered eagerly. "We try to think only of our holy intentions
as we pray, but other thoughts come into our minds. We have tried many methods
not to be troubled by them."
said the Baal Shem Tov. "Ask him the
way to stop such thoughts from entering your minds." The Baal Shem Tov
smiled. "If he has an answer, he is a fake."