Teachings of the Sages – 8th Teves, 5773

The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad

ON PRAYER

R’ Pinchas said: “G-d is prayer”.

-A renaissance of piety: the teachings of Hasidism and the shifting paradigm, in Wrapped in a Holy Flame: Teachings and Tales of the Hasidic Masters, by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, p. 9 (B)

SOURCE: Two Tzaddiks

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Teachings of the Sages – 7th Teves, 5773

The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad

ON PRAYER

“The people imagine that they pray before G-d. But this is not so. For prayer itself is the essence of divinity”.

The Martin Buber Reader: Essential Writings, edited by Asher D. Biemann, p. 69. Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan (B)

SOURCE: Two Tzaddiks

Teachings of the Sages – 6th Teves, 5773

The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad

ON FAITH

Reb Refoel of Bershid said that for someone whose faith is not as strong as it should be, his faith does not work to his benefit. He offered a suggestion on how to get around this problem: you should have faith that, even though your faith is not strong enough, G-d will assist you as if you were someone with strong faith.

Sefer Likutim Yekarim, by Aryeh Leib Schochet, p. 155, translation by A.G., personal communication, 10?14?2009 (A)

SOURCE: Two Tzaddiks

Teachings of the Sages – 5th Teves, 5773

The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad

ON FAITH

“In the city of Ostrow one Shavuos three prominent tzaddikim—the city’s rav, the town’s maggid, and the renowned tzaddik R’ Pinchas’l of Koritz, all talmidim of the eminent Baal Shem Tov—were deliberating the inyan [matter] of spreading grass on the ground on this holiday. Their interpretations varied one from the other, the Gemara concurring with none satisfactorily. R’ Pinchas’l, aware of the greatness of the ailing R’ Hirsch who lived in a rundown hovel on the outskirts of Ostrow, suggested they visit the impoverished old man to wish him a good Yom Tov and perchance he would offer some illuminating insights. After all, R’ Pinchas’l had once heard his rebbe, the great chassidic master himself, declare that it was the zechus [merit] of R’ Hirsch that protected the town from various adversities.

“The tzaddikim found R’ Hirsch sitting on his bed engrossed in the Shulchan Aruch. He asked them to be seated on the only other furnishing in the bare room—a broken bench that leaned against a wall for support. R’ Hirsch, in response to their quandary, expounded on a narration in the Gemara: R’ Ada had once decided to leave his home and family in order to spend his time learning in a yeshiva. To his wife’s voiced concern regarding their children’s welfare and how she would go about feeding them in his absence, R’ Ada proffered simply ‘Mi shelimu kurmei b’agmah?—Has all the grass in the field dispersed?’ R’ Hirsch intoned, ‘Now what kind of an answer is that? And yet his wife was appeased. Did he mean to infer that she take her hungry children out to the field and feed them grass, like the animals? Animals, lacking the intelligence to seek parnassa [livelihood], are entirely dependent on their Creator’s benevolence. Had man not deemed to act against G-d’s directive and eat from the eitz hadaas [Tree of Knowledge], he too would have basked in the bounteousness of his Creator without sweat or headache. But since he thought himself to be smart enough to be his own boss, he now scrambles for a living by constant exertion. Nonetheless, he who harbors true faith in G-d, believing wholeheartedly that Hashem is the “nosein lechem lechol bassar” [the giver of bread to all flesh] is granted ease of parnassa … with the compassion He confers upon the animal that is totally reliant on His chesed [kindness]. By referring to the grass in the field, R’ Ada essentially assured his wife that with ultimate faith in Hashem, they would never go hungry’”

“To Believe Is to Achieve,” at Kosher.com (C)

SOURCE: Two Tzaddiks

Teachings of the Sages – 1st Teves, 5773

The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad

ON FAITH

“Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz taught that a holy spark falls and burns inside a Ger. It compels him to complete his Geirus and actually does not give him any choice in this matter. Only after his Geirus is the Ger given free choice”.

Imrei Pinchas HaShalem, Shaar Toras Adam (A, B), cited in “Question & Answer With Yirmeyahu — Burning Within,” at A Simple Jew (C)

SOURCE: Two Tzaddiks

Teachings of the Sages – 29th Kislev, 5773

The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad

ON FAITH

“[G-d banished man from the Garden of Eden.] He drove away the man, and stationed the cherubim at the east of Eden, and the fiery ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24). R’ Pinchas said: ‘The fiery ever-turning sword has a universal meaning for all of us. It represents the obstacles and temptations we encounter in our attempt at achieving closeness to G-d. G-d is the Tree of Life and there are many deterrents that block our path to him’”.

Imrei Pinchas HaShalem, Bereshit 8 (A, B), cited in The Great Chasidic Masters, by Avraham Y. Finkel, p. 35 (B)

SOURCE: Two Tzaddiks

Teachings of the Sages – 28th Kislev, 5773

The Teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and His Disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad

ON FAITH

R’ Pinchas taught: “You must be wholehearted with the Eternal your G-d” (Deuteronomy 18:13). From the Torah and all of the Prophets there are only two commandments that must be performed ‘with the Eternal your G-d.’ In terms of ‘wholeheartedness’ the text only says, ‘You must be wholehearted with the Eternal your G-d.’ Similarly, regarding the value of humility, the prophet says, ‘Walk humbly with your G-d.’ The reason is that in both of these commandments one can easily fool others; one can pretend to be pure while his heart is filled with cunning and wicked schemes. Similarly it is taught that humility can be faked. … [therefore] wholeheartedness and humility must be performed with G-d, who examines our hearts for health or pride [and cannot be fooled]”.

Itturei Torah, edited by A.Y. Greenberg, vol. 6, p. 122c, cited in “Ah, the Life of a King,” by Gary Pokras (C)

SOURCE: Two Tzaddiks