Russian Hasidic Rabbi, Disciple of the Baal Shem Tov
Pinchas Shapiro of Koretz, aka Pinchas or Pinchos of Koretz
Russian Hasidic Rabbi, Disciple of the Baal Shem Tov
Dreams are a secretion of our thoughts, and through them our thought is purified.
If a man fulfills the commandments of the Torah, such as the commandment of the phylacteries, and says the formula prescribed by the Kabbalists, namely, “In the name of all Israel [I am doing this]” then he lifts up the whole universe to its “root” above, for the world is really G-d Himself, like the locust whose clothing is part of its own self [i.e. its own wings garb its body]. Therefore, he annihilates [by his action] the [outward] existence of the whole universe. And if we see that in spite of all this the world is still there, it is because the vital energy of G-d is always active and the world is incessantly renewed.’ In contrast, then, to classical Kabbalistic theurgy, where mitzvot transform the G-dhead’s inner state, for Hasidism, mitzvot transform the worshipper’s field of vision
G-d esteems highly the good deeds of men that are known only to those who perform them and their Maker.
A righteous person does not take leave of this world until he does a great mitzvah, and in this way he insures that he will cleave to Hashem.
It is possible for a person to correct the world, while the evil continues to cling to him. The Besht revealed this thing [to Menahem Mendel of Bar]: that one must descend to Gehinnom on behalf of G-d, may He be blessed. And this is alluded to in the gemara [Talmudic aphorism], ‘Greater is a sin for its own sake [than a mitzvah for its own sake.’
A man cannot be consciously good unless he knows evil. No one can appreciate pleasure unless he has tasted bitterness. Good is only the reverse of evil, and pleasure is merely the opposite of anxiety. … And G-d said: ‘There can be no goodness in man while he is alone without an evil impulse within him. I will endow him with the ability to do evil, and it will be as a help-meet to him to enable him to do good, if he masters the evil nature within him.’ Without the evil impulse, man could do no evil; but neither could he do good.
It is true that G-d is able to do whatsoever He wills. But man has the similar power, by virtue of his free will.
When a person is afraid of something, he is actually subjugated to that very thing. If he is not afraid, he remains above it.
Even when a person feels a descent, things are going badly, Hashem is there for him.
Joy is on a higher plane than grief. Even with the newborn child, tears come first and smiles only later. Joy constitutes a higher stage, for it springs from higher worlds, from G-d.
A man's soul will teach him… There is no person who is not incessantly being taught by his soul.
One must love every individual of Israel, and when you see that someone hates you, you must love them more, for Israel is a Throne for the Shechinah (Presence of G-d) and for holiness.
Every person contains something precious that cannot be found in anyone else.
Choose your words and deeds with care for they are of momentous importance.
Usually, persons asking for advice have already solved their own problem without knowing it.
One must love even the sinful, but must hate their actions. Although it is forbidden to be close to the wicked, one must still love them, so that perhaps they will return to the path of the Torah.
Prayer is itself divinity.
Every sin is linked to a reason, good or bad—with the sole exception of vanity, which needs no reason to grow and grow. If someone finds it necessary to honor me, that means he is more humble than I. Which means he is better and saintlier than I. Which means that I should honor him. But then, why is he honoring me?
In everyone there is something precious which is in no one else. That is why it is said: ‘Despise not any man.’
Within us are all the qualities, good and evil, … but they are unborn, and we have the power to beget them. We can transform evil qualities into good, and good into evil.
Nothing, great and small, could exist were it not for His help. We find that all the obstacles [to observing the] prohibitions, or even thoughts, are from the Almighty alone. And without His ‘help,’ I would become a meshumad [apostate]. But if you ignore this principle, you may think that you are ‘something’ and value yourself as a man of virtue [a sheiner yid]. [You say to yourself,] ‘I went away from sin and I am clean of sin.’ But the result is that G-d leaves him, for every haughty-hearted person is an abomination to G-d, and he and I cannot live [in the same place]. Then he finds himself in the grasp of his Urge and be caught in its trap and do whatever it tempts him to do. And [R. Pinhas] said that all this is because of the compassion of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His great kindness which is continuously over the soul, he is seduced in order to fail through a [small] thing in order to remind him that without the help of G-d he is worth nothing. [If] he does not remember through a small thing, he would stumble in a great thing until he comes to … [unclear] the belief in his own power … Then he must break himself very much, until he knows that he himself becomes nothing and very small, and then he becomes a vessel prepared to accept help and assistance from G-d, may He be blessed.
The truth of the Torah is said to be very deep; hence the haughty man, who holds his head high, is very far from it.
R’ Pinchas said: “‘Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One’ (Deuteronomy 6:4). The term echad [one] in the reading of the Shema, which proclaims the unity of G-d, [requires us to] state that there is nothing in the whole world other than the Holy One, Who fills the whole earth with His glory. The principal intention [of the commandment to recite the Shema] is that we should consider ourselves null and void, and [understand] that there is nothing to us but the soul within us, which is part of G-d above. Hence there is nothing in the whole world except the One G-d. Our principal thought when reciting the word echad should be that the whole earth is full of His glory and there is nothing [in the universe] devoid of Him”.