Rabbi Simcha Bunim Bonhart of Peshischa (Przysucha, in Poland) (1765–1827) was one of the key leaders of Hasidic Judaism in Poland.
Rabbi Simcha Bunim Bonhart of Peshischa (Przysucha, in Poland) (1765–1827) was one of the key leaders of Hasidic Judaism in Poland. After studying Torah at yeshivas in Mattersdorf and Nikolsburg, he was introduced to the world of Hasidism by his father-in-law, and became a chasid (follower) of Rabbi Yisroel Hopsztajn (Magid of Kozhnitz), and then Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak of Lublin (Chozeh), and the Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowicz (Yid Hakodosh), the Hasidic leaders of the day. After the death of the Yid Hakodosh, most of the chasidim followed Rabbi Simcha Bunim as their rebbe.
Not wanting to take up a rabbinical position, he supported himself by practicing pharmacy. At a later stage, he became an agent for Temerl Bergson, a wealthy businesswoman who supported many of the chasidic leaders during her time.
Among his followers were Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk (Kotsker Rebbe), the Vurker Rebbe Israel Yitzhak Kalish, Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter of Ger(Chiddushei Harim), Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izhbitz (Mei HaShiloach), Rabbi Yaakov Arye of Radzymin and Rav Chanoch Heynekh of Alexander.
He wrote no works of his own, but many of his teachings were transmitted orally, some of which have been collected in Kol Simcha. Others are cited in later works.
One of the more famous oral teachings attributed to Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peschischa goes as follows:
Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: "For my sake was the world created."
But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: "I am but dust and ashes."
May the merit of the tzadik Rabbi Simcha Bunim Bonhart of Peshischa protect us all. Amen