Sayings of Rabbi Moshe

The rabbi of Kobryn taught:
‘When a man suffers, he ought not to say: “That’s bad!  That’s bad!” Nothing that God imposes on man is bad.  But it is right to say: “That’s bitter!” For among medicines there are some that are made with bitter herbs.’

* * *

The rabbi of Kobryn once looked at the Heavens and cried:
‘Angel, little angel! It is no great trick to be an angel up there in the sky! You don’t have to eat and drink, beget children and earn money.  Just you come down to earth and worry about eating and drinking, about raising children and earning money, and we shall see if you keep on being an angel.  If you succeed, you may boast–but not now!’

* * *

Rabbi Moshe of Kobryn said:
“When you utter a word before God, then enter into that word with every one of your limbs.”
One of his listeners asked: “How can a big human being possibly enter into a little word?”
“Anyone who thinks himself bigger than the word,” said the zaddik* “is not the kind of person we are talking about.”

* * *

The rabbi of Kobryn taught:
God says to man, as he said to Moses: “Put off thy shoes from thy feet” – put off the habitual which encloses your foot, and you will know that the place on which you are now standing is holy ground.  For there is no rung of human life on which we cannot find the holiness of God everywhere and at all times.

* * *

Soon after the death of Rabbi Moshe, Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk asked one of his disciples:
“What was most important to your teacher?”
The disciple thought and then replied:
“Whatever he happened to be doing at the moment.”


*zaddik : leader of a hasidic community

from Tales of the Hasidim – The Later Masters
Martin Buber

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