Sunday, August 17, 2008

Born believers

Why do we find that some people believe naturally and instinctively in Tzaddikim, and others do not? The Baal Shem Tov explains:

When it comes to faith in the Sages, the Tzaddikim, one person is a fool in worldly matters, possesses bad character traits, and does possess faith in Tzaddikim. Others are wise, and have good deeds, but nevertheless lack faith in Tzaddikim, and do not know the truth.

This appears surprising. I heard a solution in the name of the Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory: Another question can be asked: why are some Tzaddikim hidden, and not revealed to the world, but only to a handful of people? ...

The explanation is as follows: in every single generation there is a Tzaddik, for the world cannot exist without a Tzaddik, for “The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world.”[1] However, if the generation is worthy, their Tzaddik will come to them in a revealed manner. If not, he will be hidden from them. But this too is surprising, for we see a person who has neither merits nor sins, and it is not possible to say that he is worthy—meaning, a 13-year-old. Why does he deserve to know the truth and have faith in the Tzaddikim? This is certainly not commensurate with his actions.

The explanation is that [in fact] everything depends upon the roots [of the person’s Neshama], for now there are reincarnations, and if the root is refined, and this refinement is reached via undergoing reincarnations, then one merits that his Tzaddik is revealed. However, if the Neshama’s roots are not refined to this degree, they then [bring forth Neshomos whose] Tzaddik is hidden, and therefore they do not have faith in him. In fact, even if he would be revealed, they would not have faith in him ...

If so, that which we know the truth, and possess faith in the Tzaddikim is not dependent upon our good deeds; as explained above, this stems from the root of the person’s Neshama. If so, we are not superior to those people who do not know the truth and oppose [the Tzaddikim]. They may well possess more G–dliness, for they perform many Mitzvos and good deeds. If so, it is not proper to be separate from them; rather, one should be united with them.

Maamarei Admur HaZaken, Inyanim, pp. 299-300.

[1] Proverbs 10:25.

Summary: The world cannot exist without a Tzaddik; however, some generations and individuals recognize the Tzaddik, while others do not.

The reason for this difference in perception is that some people’s Neshomos have been refined through reincarnations, while others who have not refined themselves sufficiently in earlier incarnations have not merited this yet.

This teaching would seem to perfectly explain the difference between misnagdim and chassidim!


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