Mashiach: Descent for the Purpose of Ascent

 Hora’ah – הוראה – Teaching

The tzaddik enables two closely-releated concepts:

  1. Yeridah Tzorech Aliyah – the descent for the purpose of ascent
  2. Kiruv Rechokim – an awakening of those who are far from the truth

We find theses ideas in the following:

“The tzaddik is bit concerned only with those close to his ideals, with good and pious people. He will seek out the wicked and sinful to move them to teshuvah. … His charity, therefore, includes not only help for the materially poor and needy, but also the highest form of tzedakh: the spiritual charity of making the wicked meritorious.”
“Chassidic Dimensions – Volume Three,” Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p.93

“… the tzaddik will sometimes appear involved with mundane affairs … dealing with masses on their own level … Externally he appears to have lowered and degraded himself, to have stepped aside from his service to G-d. In truth however, he is and remains in a constant state of devekut (union with G-d) in all does.” … “Moreover, as he (the tzaddik) is the comprehensive soul of his generation, he can elevate all and everything that is rooted in his soul. By means of his own good deeds and service to G-d he can elevate even the souls of the wicked.”
“Chassidic Dimensions – Volume Three,” Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p. 109

“The Tzaddik is called pure, but on some occasion some impurity may be found in him so that he may join the impure to elevate them to a state of purity.”
“Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics,” Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p. 98.

(The Tzaddik is) … “one who gives freely and generously. By lifting up his brethren, he himself is raised.”
“On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah,” Gershom Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 139

“To deliver the wicked, the zaddik goes to them and learns the wickedness of their ways. “He has no joy in this world because of worry over the danger of the yetzer hara, the it might seize him in its grasp. The zaddik, the servant of the Lord, knows the battle with the yetzer hara, and with the enemies who wait along the way of one who serves the Lord. This way is a way of danger, for he must ever live a life of anguish – how to escape from their net and how to warn others of the dangers from these enemies. The more knowledge, the more pain (Eccl. 1:18).
“The Zaddik,” Samuel Dresner, p.158

“It seems to me that I heard in the name of the rabbi and preacher Mendel from Bar, the following interpretation of the verse, ‘Those who pass through the valley of weeping…’ (Psalm 84:7). Just as the tzaddik descends to the doors of Gehinnom to bring up the souls of the wicked who, because of him, had previously harbored thoughts of tshuvah (repentance); so it is that in this world every day or at certain times the tzaddik descends from his rung in order to join himself with those lesser in degree, for when he again ascends to his rung, he brings them up as well. But it is only possible for one to ascend with him if he too joins himself to the tzaddik, for he who does not wish to join himself to him surely will not ascend with him. Thus the Talmud teaches, ‘He who despises a scholar has no remedy for his wounds.'”
Toldot Yaakov Yosef, 118d

His willingness to undergo persecution for their sake is palpable evidence of the tzaddik’ concern for the people. His life is often one of peril and suffering. Indeed, “the healers of the soul must go down to Gehinom to raise the wicked” (Toldot Yaakov Yosef 145a; Zohar III, 220b). In descending to the wicked he lowers himself into the pit and puts his very life at stake, “for he who descends from his rung is called dead. In this manner we understand both the dictum of Resh Lakish, ‘The words of the Torah are only fulfilled by one who is willing to give his life for it” (Berachot 63b), and the dictum of Yaakov Yosef: “He who wishes to live, finds death; he who is willing to die, finds life”
Toldot Yaakov Yosef 151b

New Testament

Yeshua is shown associating not only with ‘common people,’ but with those thought to be ‘the worst sinners.’ His connecting to the latter relates to the the concept of the tzaddik lowering himself to ‘elevate’ all of his brethren.

“And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Yeshua heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Mark 2:16,17 

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Yeshua haMashiach, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of G-d in him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Mashiach Yeshua, who, though he expressed the characteristics of G-d, did not count equality with G-d a thing to be desired, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Philippians 2:5-7 

“And Yeshua answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Yeshua answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
John 12:23-32