Tzadikim – Part I

A central tenet of Chasidus is the Torah of “Tzadikim”. It is often misunderstood to be just a “grand Rabbi”. Tzadikim are much more than the “greatest Tzadik in the group”.

Many Seforim explain the sin of Korach, that he understood that Moshe Rabbeinu is much higher than anyone else, but still thought that they are in the same league and same category. Really, Moshe Rabbeinu and the Tzadikim of every generation are in a whole different category and they can’t be understood from the viewpoint of a regular person.

A good Mashal (parable) to this is as follows: one person knows one Masechta (tractate) in Shas well and his friend knows ten Masechtas in Shas well. The first person can understand the second. Although the second is ten times a bigger Talmid Chacham than the first, they are still in the same category. The first, with knowing one Masechta, can imagine what it is like to know ten.

The same thing is with Tzadikim. In Belz there is a saying: People think that a Tzadik is like ten Chasidim combined, but it is not so, a Tzadik is something else entirely.

This difference is not only between an ordinary person and a Tzadik. Even in the great levels of Tzadikim it is not just quantitatively different, but qualitatively different as well. We see Korach who was also a great Tzadik but he thought that he already understands Moshe Rabbeinu.

Why is it so? What makes a Tzadik so different?

As someone who is not on these Madreigos, these questions are not easy to answer. But we will try to quote here from the Seforim to get a glimpse on how it works.

The Mezritcher Magid writes (in רמזי תורה פרשת נח) that a Tzadik has a Neshamah Koleles – a soul that encompasses all the Yidden of his generation. The Tzadik brings down all Shefa for everyone, and through his Avodah he connects everyone to Hashem.

As the Gemara says “כל העולם ניזון בשביל חנינא בני”. The Magid explains that “שביל” here means a path. The Tzadik is a path, a conduit, to bring down the Shefa to all Yidden and to bring up the Avoda of all Yidden.

As we’ll see next week that in times of the Beis Hamikdash this was the Avoda of the Kohanim.

To be continued…