Monday, July 27, 2009

Reb Pinchas of Koretz

Reb Pinchas of Koretz was known for his great humility, among other things. Even as an older man he continued to daven by the stove in the shul, the most undesirable spot. He once said, "everything I learned, I learned sitting quietly in the back row, in the last seat. Now that I'm in a position of prestige I don't understand." When the Ba'al Shem Tov, the founder of chassidus, was asked on his deathbed who in his generation could contend, he said, "there is the bear in the forest (Reb Dov Ber, the Magid of Mezertich), and there is Pinchas, the saint."

When Reb Pinchas was asked why we sway while davening (praying) he replied, "Hashem fills the entire world with His bright light. But there is a screen that covers the luster of that brightness so that it is not that evident. It is like clouds that block the sunlight. When we daven, we disperse the cover, the clouds, and we penetrate the light. We sway in davening to symbolize the moving of the clouds."

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