Section: Daas Torah   Category: Rav Shimshon
Bedikas Chometz: Rav Shimshon Pincus, “If I have anything today…”
Not one to talk about himself (unless poking fun), on a rare occasion Rav Shimshon Pincus shared this incredible account with someone very close to him, giving us a glimmer of insight and clarity into his Gadlus.  It is published in the Hakdama to the Hagada Tiferes Shimshon.

“When I was a yeshivah bochur in Yeshivas Brisk, I shared an apartment with other bochurim.  One year, I was the only bochur who remained in the apartment the night of Bedikas Chometz.  At the proper time, I began to perform the bedikah, and my bedikah lasted for a few hours.  When I was finally finished, I was completely exhausted, but satisfied and happy that I had properly fulfilled the halacha.
Suddenly it occurred to me that I had forgotten about the roof, which required bedikah as well, according to the Shulchan Aruch.  I realized that the other neighbors in the building did not check the roof, and the responsibility would have to fall on me.
This realization did not come without an inner struggle.  After all, I was already completely exhausted.  I thought, “Does the mitzvah davka fall on me?  The roof belongs to everyone in the building.  Why do I need to do it?”  Eventually however, I overcame my inner struggle and decided that I would fulfill the mitzvah properly.
I left my apartment and climbed up the stairs.  I opened the door of the communal roof, turned on the light…. and my heart fell.  The roof was filthy; it was obvious that it had not been cleaned in years.  It was covered with thick layers of dust and dirt.  Performing a bedikah was impossible since the halacha requires the area to be cleaned before being checked.    
I stood in the doorway, feeling completely fatigued and overwhelmed.  Eventually however, I gathered my strength, went down to my apartment, filled a bucket of water, and returned to the roof.  It was close to midnight when I began to clean the roof which had not been cleaned in years.  From time to time, I questioned myself whether I was definitely performing a mitzvah.  Each time, I strengthened myself with the knowledge that I was performing a mitzvah d’rabbanan.  It was close to dawn when I had finally cleaned the roof thoroughly enough to perform Bedikas Chometz.
At Shacharis, and even more so afterwards, I felt exhausted.  I wasn’t able to rest because of the many things I needed to take care of before Yom Tov.  I thought to myself, “If I am so tired now, what kind of Seder will I have tonight when I’m even more tired?”
The Seder arrived, and I was imbued with a sweet spiritual taste and light.  I began to recite the Hagaddah, and tasted the sweetness of each word as if for the first time.  I ate the matzah and felt the incredible power of the mitzvah.  The entire night, I was engulfed with a great spiritual light.  I felt spiritually exalted and felt a special closeness to Hashem. It was as if I was transformed into a completely new person that Seder night. 

When the Seder ended, I wasn’t able to fall asleep.  I remained awake all night, and occupied myself with the story of yetzias mitzrayim.  I felt a closeness to Hashem the entire night that I hadn’t felt my entire life.  I thought that this exalted feeling would only last the night of the Seder, but the next morning and the entire next day, I continued to feel this wonderful closeness to Hashem.
In the afternoon, I thought to myself, “Who knows if this feeling will continue?  Maybe it will only last through the first day of Pesach.”  However, the next day - the first day of Chol Hamoed, I continued to feel spiritually elevated.  My feelings of elevation continued, and the entire Chol Hamoed, I could not tear myself away from my Gemara.  I wasn’t capable of occupying myself with anything other than closeness to Hashem.
When Pesach was over, a painful thought occurred to me.  “What will be from now on after such a wonderful Yom Tov?  Will it last?  I refuse to separate myself in any way from the inner light which I felt over Yom Tov.”
That year, Shabbos fell immediately after Pesach.  “I strengthened myself and I thought, ‘Tomorrow, Shabbos Kodesh will begin, and Shabbos is more kodesh than Yom Tov.’  That Shabbos, I truly tasted the spirituality of Shabbos Kodesh for the first time, and truly understood the concept of Shabbos Kodesh.  My entire spiritual elevation continued from that point.”
“If I have anything today, it all stems from the koach of that one mitzvah d’rabbanan of bedikas chometz which I grasped and fulfilled with mesiras nefesh.”  

On the night of Bedikas Chometz 5761/2001, after a tragic car accident that took Rav Shimshon’s life and the life of his wife and his daughter, Rav Shimshon was escorted by thousands of Talmidim and admirers to a world that is truly full of light.  

TiHei Nishmosom Tzirura Bzror HaChaim.