Title: Nefesh Shimshon – Shabbos Kodesh
Author: Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus, zt”l
In addition to his many duties as chief rabbi of Ofakim, a city located in southern Israel, Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus spent decades traveling around the world – gracing seminars, week-end retreats, and special events – as one of the Torah world’s most sought-after, inspiring and influential speakers. Anyone who had the privilege of hearing him speak would come away uplifted, rejuvenated, recharged and reconnected to Torah values and ideals. His vitality was contagious, and when he spoke, his own profound love of Torah animated every aspect of his physical being: His face lit up, his hands reached out, he moved about as if he was dancing.
Unfortunately, this adam gadol was tragically taken from us eight years ago., and though his physical presence is still greatly missed, we do have the blessing of his written works and tape-recorded lectures to spiritually invigorate us.
Since his petirah, a number of outstanding seforim (entitled Nefesh Shimshon) have appeared in Hebrew on various topics such as Chumash, Shabbos, Yom Tov, tefillah, emunah, chinuch, and more. Some of these seforim are based on his writings and some on transcriptions from recorded shiurim and shmuessen. Now, for the first time, one of these outstanding works has been meticulously translated and made available to an English-speaking public.
Nefesh Shimshon: Shabbos Kodesh is based upon Rav Pincus’srecorded lectures, and those who took part in putting this sefer together have put forth a remarkable effort in capturing – not only the all-important content of the Rav’s shiurim – but also the spirit, immediacy, and excitement of a live presentation. These essays are easy to read; they are clear, refreshing, the words move along, and the thoughts literally lift off the page – as if someone were actually speaking them. For readers, this adds significantly to the joy of going through this inspiring work.
Those who knew Rav Pincus also knew the profound depths to which Shabbos touched and motivated his soul. His understanding, appreciation, and love of Shabbos emanated from the very essence of his being, and this is apparent on every page. It’s obvious that Shabbos stirred up something deep within which ultimately found expression in these eloquent essays. Filled with insights into chazal, personal asides, stories, mesholim, and a genuine familiarity with the challenges of our day and age, these various threads unite to create essays that come across – not as abstract, academic pieces – but as personable insights that are meant to be shared, heart to heart. You can easily imagine Rav Pincus personally relating:
“Our job on this day is to disconnect from the world, from our occupations and hobbies, and live in seclusion with Hashem. The only thing that interests us is kedushah. And that is the meaning of the halachos of Shabbos, which tell us not to plow, plant, build, write – all the forms of creative work – meleches machsheves. What do we do on Shabbos? Zachor v’shamor! We remember what Shabbos is and are careful not to ruin its beauty.
Shabbos is like the week of sheva berachos. During these days the chasan and kallah don’t go to work; they just live together. On Shabbos we live with Hashem. How? By spending time with Him privately and not being involved with any matters other than kedushah. To live in Hashem’s house, to eat at His table, to understand that the clothes we wear on Shabbos are priestly garments.”
Throughout the text, Rav Pincus discusses dozens of Shabbos-related topics – all designed to make the inner purpose and meaning of Shabbos shine with renewed vigor – as it sensitizes readers to elevated levels of appreciation for the kedushah of this special day. The text concludes with a unique section entitled “Shabbos with Rav Pincus” which discusses and describes different customs and practices that the Rav engaged in to enhance his own love and appreciation of Shabbos.
No one would argue that we live in a most turbulent time, with challenges surrounding us in almost – if not every – aspect of our lives. For Am Yisrael throughout the ages, Shabbos has always sustained us like a safe harbor in the midst of a storm-tossed sea.
A sefer such as this is needed, perhaps now more than ever, to buttress our emunah, deepen our understanding, and refine our appreciation of all that Shabbos has to offer. With the spiritual nourishment gained from Nefesh Shimshon: Shabbos Kodesh,we will be better prepared – not only to immerse ourselves in kedushas Shabbos – but also to better address the numerous challenges we face in the y’mei ha’chol.