Day 42

Week 6: The Middot and the Tzaddik

Day 42 – Malchut in the Tzaddik

Malchut is associated with the world, and specifically with the Divine Presence, the Shekinah, in the world. There are many aspects of Malchut that are associated with the tzaddik, who is one that ‘comes in the name of the Lord,’ among the people on earth.

The tzaddik is said to be a dwelling place for the Shekinah, the Divine Presence of G-d in our physical world:

“A vessel is placed under the Sabbath light to receive the sparks. This law of the Mishnah refers to the ‘zaddik, who is called the vessel of the Shechinah, which is light, for the Torah is call light; that is, the study of Torah and performance of the mitzvoth is light, The zaddikim are the throne for the Shechinah, as it is says of Abraham, ‘And the Lord *went up* from Abraham’ (Gen. 22:17). The zaddikim are the channels through which the sparks of the Shechinah pass that they might scatter to all the world.”
“The Zaddik,” Samuel Dresner, p. 126

The Shekinah, associated with Malchut, is the ‘first gate” of connection for us.

“How apt then, the Baal Shem Tov’s interpretation of Psalms 118:20, ‘This is the gate to G-d, tzadikim. Tzadikim are the gate to G-d’.”
Chassidic Dimensions Volune 3, Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p. 111

This is not to say the tzaddik is “G-d” in any way, or someone you cannot connect to G-d to, without accepting him as a tzaddik.’ (Another area of misinterpretation of the New Testament.)

“The Tzaddik is also an intermediary. He is an agent between G-d and ourselves. Yet he is not an intermediary at all. G-d forbid that anyone thinks he needs a medium between the Almighty and himself; not from his side, and certainly not from G-d’s. Rather, because the Tzaddik is one who has conquered the physicality of this world and entered the spiritual realm, he serves as an agent and a catalyst for bringing spirituality to this world. Having attained the wisdom and understanding necessary for srving G-d in a true and proper manner, the Tzaddik serves him by bringing His will to mankind and by getting people to recognize G-d in all aspects of their lives. The average person cannot perceive G-d’s will, and therefore has to turn to someone who can. This in this sense, the Tzaddik is an intermediary.”
“Crossing the Narrow Bridge,” Chaim Kramer, p. 323

However, not everyone will see the tzaddik as such. In fact, there will be objections to the tzaddik among those in his generation:

“From the days of the very first leader and shepherd of Israel, Moses, there has generally always been some opposition to the tzaddik-leader. He was not always properly recognized by all in his generation. Oftentimes he arouse enmity, jealous and opposition. This happens not only in terms of plain people … quite frequently the opposition comes also and especially so, from scholars and leaders. … This is part of the Providential design and plan.”
Chassidic Dimensions Volune 3, Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p. 116

The tzaddik’s humility is reflected in his response:

“The true tzaddik however, will not respond to his opponents. His consciousness is of his cosmic mission and purpose and not of personal considerations or petty arguments. He is of those who are insulted but do not insult, hear themselves reviled but do not answer, act through love and rejoice in suffering.”
Chassidic Dimensions Volune 3, Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p.118

Again, what applies to the tzaddik does, even more so, to the Messiah:

“However, you’re mistaken if you think it is easy to find the truth. Rob Noson said of Mashiach, in whose time the Ultimate Truth will be revealed: Mashiach will have more difficulty convincing the chassidim of his identity, than the atheists … we all have so much ‘truth’ and ‘faith’ in our own way of life, that we might never accept the Mashiach if he were to tell us that the truth lay elsewhere.”
“Crossing the Narrow Bridge,” Chaim Kramer, p. 61

The purpose of the tzaddik extents to taking on suffering in order to benefit the people:

“Suffering and pain may be imposed on a tzaddik as an atonement for his entire generation. This tzaddik must then accept this suffering with love for the benefit of his generation, just as he accepts the suffering imposed upon him for his own sake. In doing so, he benefits his generation by atoning for it, and at the same time is himself elevated to a very great degree … In addition, there is a special, higher type of suffering that comes to a tzaddik who is even greater and more highly perfected than the ones discussed above. This suffering comes to provide the help necessary to bring about the chain of events leading to the ultimate perfection of mankind as a whole.”
“Derech Hashem” (The Way of G-d), Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 1997, p. 122.)

The Zohar connects the suffering of the tzaddik to the suffering servant of Isaiah:

“Why is it that whenever sinners multiply in the world and punishment impends over the world, the virtuous among them are smitten for them, as we have learnt, that for the guilt of the generation the holy and righteous are seized upon? Why should this be? If because they do not reprove mankind for their evil deeds, how many are there who do reprove but are not listened to (though the righteous do humble themselves before them)? If it is in order that there may be no one to shield them, let them not die and let them not be seized for their sins, since it is a satisfaction to the righteous to see their destruction. He replied: It is true that for the guilt of the generation the righteous are seized upon, but we may explain this on the analogy of the limbs of the body. When all the limbs are in pain and suffering from sickness one limb has to be smitten in order that all may be healed. Which is the one? The arm. The arm is smitten and blood is drawn from it, and this is healing for all the limbs of the body. So men are like limbs of one body. When G-d desires to give healing to the world He smites one righteous man (tzaddik) among them with disease and suffering, and through him gives healing to all, as it is written, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities… and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). A righteous man is never afflicted save to bring healing to his generation and to make atonement for it, for the “other side” prefers that punishment should light upon the virtuous man rather than on any other, for then it cares not for the whole world on account of the joy it finds in having power over him.”
Zohar, Bemidbar 218a