Friday, May 09, 2008

Guest Posting By Shoshana (Bershad) - My New Web Site

I am thrilled and delighted to announce my new web site,, which is devoted to the lives and teachings of Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz and his disciple, Rebbe Raphael of Bershad.

My interest in these two 18th century Chassidic rabbis developed from my genealogical research to trace my ancestry back to R’ Raphael of Bershad and from my desire to find out what he believed and taught. Subsequently, my research broadened to include R’ Raphael’s teacher, R’ Pinchas of Koretz, an associate of the Baal Shem Tov who is regarded by Chassidim as one of the “pillars of the world.”

I discovered that there is little material available in English on the lives and teachings of these two tzaddiks. Most of the extant information appears in scholarly academic works or in anthologies of aphorisms and anecdotes. Some collections, such as the Imrei Pinchas HaShalem and the Midrash Pinhas, contain R’ Pinchas’s Torah, organized according to the weekly parsha, but these works are inaccessible to those who do not read Hebrew. After gathering the available information, I would like to share my findings with the English-reading public, in the hope that the lives and teachings of R’ Pinchas and R’ Raphael will be remembered and more widely appreciated.

My work is basically a compilation of translated quotations and commentary in English, organized systematically by topic or theme. I decided not to attempt an analysis of the teachings, as I lack the qualifications and perspective for that endeavor, but my work presents the opinions and analyses of numerous commentators and scholars. It also contains an extensive bibliography of works in both English and Hebrew, which, I hope, may be helpful to readers and researchers. In addition, the work includes photographs and information on the burial places of the two rebbes and the two-century-old synagogue in Bershad where R’ Raphael prayed.

I decided to publish my work on the internet rather than in print so that I could include links to sources and resources and so that my work would not compete with commercial publications. After a long period of acquiring permissions and teaching myself web coding, my web site is finally ready! I invite you to visit, learn from the teachings, and enjoy the stories. I welcome comments, feedback, and other contributions, and I plan to update the site occasionally, as new information becomes available.

I am immensely grateful to friends, family, and others who have contributed photos, provided translations, and given me encouragement and assistance. My friends in the Chassidic community have warmly welcomed me into their midst and afforded me insights on Chassidic viewpoints and practices that have helped me reconnect with my heritage and deepen my own spiritual outlook and understanding. A special thanks to ASJ for allowing me to publicize the web site on his blog.


At May 9, 2008 at 7:55:00 AM EDT, Blogger Alice said...

best of luck!

At May 9, 2008 at 6:37:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow--what a fantastic job!
You are giving your ancestors such nachas in shamayim, and we here on earth a true blessing with your work.
Thank you so much for your generosity and sharing.

At June 13, 2008 at 5:56:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the website. My heart has been drawn to Rabbi Pinhas and Rabbi Rafael since I read about them in Martin Buber zal's work about three years ago. I have grown cherish their teachings so much and hold them as a primary foundation to how i want to live Judaism.

I think website is so wonderful . Thank you for doing such an important service


At June 13, 2008 at 12:03:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alice, Jonathan, and Dani, thank you so much for those very kind words!

If anyone would like to contact me directly, please email me at the address given on the Readers' Comments page of the web site.

Shoshana (Bershad)


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