Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Greatness of Tzaddikim

We cannot understand the greatness of every good action, word, and thought since we hardly discern their impact in this physical world. How much less do we have a grasp of the greatness of a tzaddik who struggled to overcome his yetzer hara and live in absolute accordance with Hashem’s will.
This is how the Pri Ha’aretz, zt”l, explains an apparently enigmatic statement of our sages. “Our sages teach that while a live ram has one voice, a dead ram forms seven sound producing instruments. This alludes to the tzaddik who will be recognized as is fitting only in the ultimate future. Although while in this word he attains a certain degree of renown, this is not nearly as much as it fitting since we cannot discern with physical eyes his vast greatness. To us, great and small tzaddikim appear essentially the same. In the world to come we will see the precise greatness of each tzaddik in accordance with how much he toiled to come closer to Hashem. The praise of true tzaddik—even those who attain great prominence in this world—will be at least seven-fold. It is only then that each tzaddik will be treated as he truly deserves.”
But the Ohel Yosef Yitzchak, zt”l, explains differently. “We find in the Midrash that the Jewish people are compared to a vineyard. Just like a vineyard is propagated upon dead branches, so too, Yisrael survives on the great merit of the Avos. The Midrash adds that our prayers are also only accepted due to the merit of the Avos. This is clear from the prayers of Eliyahu on Mount Carmel. Although he petitioned Hashem with many prayers he was only answered when he mentioned the departed.
“This is the meaning of the words of our sages that the live ram has one voice but the dead ram has seven. ‘Seven voices’ alludes to diversity among the Jewish people. Even though we are very diverse, we are still unified because we stem from the live ram, the Avos, whose voice is only for the Creator. Although there is much apparent diversity, at our source the Jewish people are one.”

1 comment:

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