Seeing Truth

Click here for Hebrew text.

The Yahrzeit of Reb Pinchas Shapira of Koretz zl (1726-1791) is commemorated on the 10th of Elul. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

[NOTE: The purpose of publishing these stories here is to help remind us of the culture of our forebears. Unfortunately, this one contains an attitude toward non-Jews which may be considered as triumphalistic, insulting and derogatory. There are positive aspects to the story as well. I welcome your sharing of feelings, thoughts, opinions and comments. Gabbai Seth]

Reb Pinchas’ Prayer

Once on a weekday the Rav zl prayed Maariv / the evening service before the daybreak and when he reached the phrase:

שומר עמו ישראל / “Who protects His nation Israel”, he cried out with a great cry.

The Duchess was passing by the study hall at this moment, and she lowered herself to within the window  frame, (for the windows in the study hall of Koretz lay low), and said in the Polish language: “How sincere was this cry from the heart with no pretense whatsoever.”

When they told Reb Pinchas of this he said:

“Also those who worship false gods [lit: stars and planets] know what is truth.”

And he told the following:

Once the mother of  Reb Ashkenazi was traveling on a road with a non-Jew (lit. uncircumcized) and, he stood up to navigate in the forest. And the Besht was also in that forest with his minyan and, they were praying. And the non-Jew stood opposite them and, he only gazed at the Besht. And afterwards, he asked about him:

“Who was this Jew who stood under the tree?”

They asked:

“What kinds of things came out of this for you?”

He answered that there was such a great terror that came over him until the entire forest shrank before him as it faded away.

In addition, Reb Pinchas zl told of himself, that once he was performing a circumcision in a village and, the midwife had been a non-Jew (lit. foreigner). And Reb Pinchas zl didn’t know that she was behind the curtain.

And afterwards when he was traveling from the village, the non-Jew was asking several times:

“Who was this Jew who had cried out so?” (As in the previous case with the duchess above, Reb Pinchas had similarly cried out with a great cry at the Brit during the davvening).

They asked her:

“What kinds of things were happening for you?”

She answered that a great terror fell on her but at least she didn’t die.

For also those who worship false gods realize when something is true.

(From the Torah of Hasidus, pamphlet 1 page 7.)

One Response to “Seeing Truth”

  1. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    One of the points here is that Reb Pinchas’ prayer is as powerful as that of his teacher, the Baal Shem Tov. And in the case of both of them, an indication of the power and impact is that even non-Jews can feel it.

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