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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
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The View From The Beis Medrash

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In his early years, Rabbi Pincus learned in Beis HaTalmud yeshiva in New York under Rabbi Aryeh Leib Malin. Afterwards, he made aliyah and learned in Brisk yeshiva under Rabbi Berel Soloveitchik, the son of the Brisker Rav. After his marriage, he lived in Bnei Brak and then in the Negev. At that time, he was the mashgiach of the yeshiva in Ofaqim. He subsequently became the rosh Yeshiva in Yeruham. At the request of Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach and Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky (the Steipler), Rabbi Pincus accepted the position of chief rabbi of Ofaqim. He made public speeches – mostly free of charge – all over Israel, the U.S. and South Africa. He visited Chile with his parents to strengthen the kehillah in Torah and mussar.

Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus

Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus

Rabbi Pincus was known for having been loved by everyone with whom he came across, each person feeling a personal connection to him. He put the needs of others before his own, and was known for his love for Hashem and every Jewish person. He is quoted as having said that there is something wrong with a person’s Yiddishkeit if that person does not do for another Jew what he would do for his own son.

Many of his shiurim are available on cassette or online and most of his teachings were written posthumously by his students. His books include Sha’arim B’Tefillah; Berachos B’Chesbon; Shabbos Malkisa; Haggadah Shel Pesach; Tiferes Shimshon; Sichos HaRav Shimshon Dovid Pincus; Tiferes Avos; and the series of nefesh Shimshon on Shabbos Kodesh; HaTorah U’Kinyana; Galus U’Nechamah; Tehillim; Seder HaTefillah; Sha’arei Emunah; Pesach, Sefiras Ha’Omer and Shavous, and Al HaTorah.

While a bachur at Beis HaTalmud, an encounter with Rabbi Aryeh Leib Malin would greatly impact the way Rabbi Pincus would live the rest of his life. The summer z’man in Beis HaTalmud ended with Tisha B’Av. One year, Tisha B’Av fell out on Shabbos and most of the bachurim went to the Catskill Mountains before Shabbos to get an early start to the summer. This violated Reb Leib’s rule; he wanted the boys to stay in yeshiva until Tisha B’Av. Reb Leib said that if Tisha B’Av was pushed off until Sunday, so too should the yeshiva. However, most of the bachurim did not adhere to this and left for the Catskills for Shabbos.

So on Friday night only two bachurim were left in yeshiva for Shabbos. One can imagine the righteous feeling they had for being the only two bachurim who adhered to Reb Leib’s rule. As usual, the boys went to Reb Leib after davening to wish him a gut Shabbos. Reb Leib wished them a gut Shabbos and quickly added in Yiddish, “But you do not deserve a yasher koach!” Reb Leib’s message was that one does not deserve a yasher koach for doing what is expected of him.

Rabbi Pincus lived the rest of his life doing everything he could for Hashem and his people. Many wondered how he was able to afford his monetary distributions when, in fact, he did not have any money for himself. Others wondered how he was able to exert energy on behalf of strangers. But it was Reb Leib’s message that helped him accomplish all of his acts of tzedakah v’chesed. Rabbi Pincus felt that this is what he must do. And he did it without seeking recognition.

Rabbi Pincus and his wife, Chaya, had 12 children. His wife administered the religious high school Neve Yocheved for girls in Ofaqim. In 2001, at the age of 56, Rabbi Pincus was killed in a car accident, along with his wife and 18-year-old daughter, Miriam.

Yehi zichro baruch.

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