February 11, 2008

Ohr Pnei Moshe, Master of Soferous

Filed under: Blog Torah — Reb Moshe @ 8:12 am

Photo of Rabbenu Tam Tefillin I am writing Now.

Reb Avraham Moshe was a great Tzaddik who wrote the sefer Ohr Pnei Moshe. He made a promise that the tefillin he wrote would remain kosher forever. His writings became treasures to those who possessed them and they were handed down through generations. There value to some are priceless and when one hears or sees such an gem, they rejoice. Reb Moshe is to me an inspiration in soferous. Most soferim have never heard of him and don’t know of his greatness. If they did, it would change their perspective of writing holy items. Beyond the halacha of soferous which is a vast amount of laws, stems the spiritual side of soferous, being a scribe. Even beyond the Kabbalistic teachings of soferous from the Arizal, stems Reb Moshe’s Chassidic style of writing. It is no wonder that the greatest of Rebbes would send one of their chassidim to travel hundreds of miles just to pick up a precious pair of Reb Moshe’s writings. After-all, it was known that when he wrote them, he saw the letters as flashing of fire just like they were when the Torah was given on Har Sinai.

One story goes as follows:
Reb Dovid of Lelov was told by the Seer of Lublin to travel to Pshivorsk and get a pair of tefillin from Reb Moshe. When he arrived, he saw him writing tefillin with great devotion. When Reb Dovid greeted him, Reb Moshe just kept on writing as if he wasn’t even there. Finally he put down the pen and said, “Shalom Alechem. Where are you from?” Reb Dovid said, “I am from Lelov”. “And your name?”, asked Reb Moshe. “Dovid”. “I see, you must be Reb Dovid that Elijah the Prophet told me about. He told me to write two pairs of tefillin for you.” He then went to his cabinet and pulled out two pairs and handed them to the startled, Reb Dovid. On the bag was Reb Dovids name and there was both Rashi and Rabbenu Tam pairs of Tefillin finished and shinning with a topping of olive oil.

These two pairs of tefililn were not the only ones written by Reb Moshe but they certainly have quite a history to prove the greatness of Reb Moshes tefillin. Once when a fire broke out in the town of Zarick, Reb Dovids grandson, grabbed his grandfathers tefillin and ran with the townsfolk to the nearby cemitary which was clear from the fire. When the fire finally caught up there, the townsfolk scattered once again. Accidentally, Dovid Yitzchok left the tefillin behind. Unable to return till after the fire, Dovid Yitzchok was downtrodden, expecting the worse. To his dismay, the tefillin were unharmed.

This same pair of tefillin went through War World II. It was once again lost in the rubble after the Natzis Lemach Shimo destroyed and trashed homes. Still, someone found them and returned them to their owner. The secret of these holy tefillin must be the holy fire and purity they were written with. Reb Avraham Moshe of Pshivorsk is no wonder my inspiration in continuing soferous. He is also the reason why I primarily enjoy writing tefillin. It is known that the intentions the scribe has while writing has a daily effect on the wearer of the tefillin. So much so, that they can inspire him daily. Though I bare his name, I am no Reb Avraham Moshe ben Yitzchak HaLevi but I continuously remind myself of his greatness and from this, I write my tefillin.

1 Comment

  1. Shlomo Halberstam, the Bobover Rav ZTz”LV, had a pair. The Sofer used kabbalistic meditation on every letter.

    Rebbe Shlomoh had these in a bag with other treasures, includin Elimelech of Lizhinsk’s pipe, and countless manuscripts from his Father and the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. This bag he took on his escape from Bochnia Gheto to Checheslovakia, but the bag was confiscated when he was caught ( and later freed). I do not recollect if he got them back or not.

    Comment by Asa Yitzchak — February 12, 2008 @ 3:48 am

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