On Thursday June 17, this writer had the honor of meeting with Rabbi Aharon Yehoshua Pessin, well-known speaker and author, to discuss his holy work. I had the privilege two years earlier of hearing Rabbi Pessin speak at Lenox Hill Hospital at a class given to medical staff, family, and friends as a z’chus for a r’fuah sh’leimah for a wonderful friend, who has since passed away.
Rabbi Pessin lives in Israel, and he was on a speaking tour this past week. He spoke in communities in New Jersey (Passaic and Teaneck), New York (Manhattan, Far Rockaway, and several locations in Central Queens), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), and Connecticut (Waterbury). In addition, Rabbi Pessin spoke for a podcast on the importance of connecting to g’dolim, their teachings, and seeking their guidance. This will be broadcast next week. Additionally, Chazaq taped a shiur – “Let’s Produce: The Power to Build with Our Words.” This will be available on Torah Anytime and in the Chazaq June lecture series.
His website, Torah 24-7, boasts over 20,000 shiurim. Most of them are short gems. The story of this website teaches all of us a powerful lesson. Rabbi Pessin was making these short videos of shiurim and sending them to Israel. One day, his Web camera broke. He didn’t hear anyone complaining that there were no more shiurim, so he decided that maybe that was the end of them. Two and a half months later, one person called and asked for the shiurim. He insisted that he wanted the shiurim to continue, and he sent Rabbi Pessin to the store to buy a new Web camera. This one person has the merit of what followed: Because of him, Rabbi Pessin went on to deliver 20,000 shiurim. Rabbi Pessin pointed out, “Look how one person’s words can build worlds. All this came about with Hashem’s help because of one positive word. We all need to realize the power we possess. We each can offer positive encouragement that will build up a person’s self-esteem. Mishlei teaches that when a person is happy, he can overcome illness. We should accept upon ourselves to not let one day pass without giving an encouraging compliment to someone. It can be a spouse, a child, a co-worker, a neighbor, or someone on the street. We can make a difference.”
Rabbi Pessin has written 25 s’farim in Hebrew with English translations. They cover a variety of Torah subjects. Some examples include the following: Midah K’neged Midah – an encyclopedia containing more than 12,000 sources showing where we find measure for measure in the Tanach and in the writings of Chazal. It includes commentary and answers from Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita. There is also a The Measure for Measure Haggadah, The Measure for Measure Megillas Esther, and The Measure for Measure Bentcher. He has s’farim on life and death answers, as well as on many other topics. This is just a tiny sample of the wealth of incredible s’farim written by Rabbi Pessin.
Rabbi Pessin shared something the Chofetz Chaim once said. Putting out a sefer is like having a new baby. There are labor pains, complications, difficulties, but in the end: pure joy. Rabbi Pessin writes his s’farim in Ramat Beit Shemesh in Israel. He imparted that he is thrilled when someone learns one of his s’farim. It is a tremendous z’chus. Writing s’farim, teaching, and recording lectures are ways to have many students. A place like Chazaq fulfills the dictum from Chazal to have many students to transfer our m’sorah. Rabbi Pessin was “extraordinarily impressed by the scope of Chazaq’s kiruv community outreach.” He was gratified by the warm greeting and complete tour of the Chazaq office and facilities, given by Robbie Aboff, Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, and staff.
Rabbi Pessin also designed a unique decorative poster for schools, homes, and sukkos. He commissioned a famous artist and the result is breathtaking. It illustrates a sugya from the Gemara and it depicts Chazal’s teaching about dreams. What you look at during the day causes what you see in your dreams. He has a six-foot replica of this poster hanging in his children’s bedroom. Everything the Gemara mentions in Maseches B’rachos 56-57 is depicted on this beautiful poster.
Rabbi Pessin has a close connection to Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, Rav Ephraim Greenberg shlita, and Rav Asher Weiss shlita. Chazal teach that we are commanded to cling to Hashem. The Gemara asks: How can you cling to Hashem? He is fire. If you cling to talmidei chachamim it is like clinging to Hashem. Learning Torah is the greatest mitzvah, and one thing greater is serving your rebbe because then you get two in one. You see how he applies Torah into real life. You see his good midos. You see how humble he is and how much one can achieve. It’s unimaginable.
When asked what he hopes to accomplish in the future, Rabbi Pessin said that he davens for koach to continue to touch as many hearts as possible – to inspire and empower others. He wants to help people draw close to Hashem. He wants to convey the sweetness of Torah with his s’farim, teaching, and kiruv work.
Hashem should continue to bless Rabbi Pessin and his amazing avodah.
By Susie Garber