Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tzadikim Knowing Your Secret Actions, Thoughts, and Plans...

I read the quote below from the Mittler (2nd) Lubavitcher Rebbe's ma'amar, Kuntrus Hahishtatchus. A kind reader from this post on my visit to the Lubavitcher Rebbe's kever, pointed me toward this ma'amar:

Similarly, when a person goes to the grave of a holy tzaddik, he can feel great shame and lose all sense of self concern, because he feels great embarrassment over all his deeds and thoughts which he performed until the present day, for they are all revealed before [the tzaddik]. For even in his lifetime, a tzaddik is aware of another person’s thoughts and designs, as is well known. Surely, this applies after the tzaddik’s passing, for then [his existence] is spiritual.

I understand and aspire to attain all of the different benefits the Mittler Rebbe was talking about in this ma'amar when visiting kivrei Tzadikim. But in the section from which this quote came, he was discussing one of the reasons why one's feeling of yirah, fear, is increased visiting a kever.

Although it does not reflect positively on me, I have a very difficult time believing that living Tzadikim are aware of another person's deeds, thoughts, and designs. I certainly believe that this is true with some of the Tzadikim because I have heard many stories about Tzadikim knowing things about people that they had no natural way of knowing. I also have no trouble believing that Tzadikim know about a person's actions after their petira, since they are no longer bound by this natural world. My difficulty is in accepting the truth of the Mittler Rebbe's statement that living Tzadikim (as a general matter) know a person's deeds, thoughts, and plans.

I have met with several Tzadikim over time and they were so great, l'ein erech, that it would be insulting to them even for me to acknowledge their greatness. But I clearly got the sense that they did not know much more about me besides what I told them and perhaps a little beyond that just by being very perceptive. But I clearly felt that the conversation would have gone differently if they had the kind of vision into me that the Mittler Rebbe is talking about.

Any thoughts?

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18 comments:

mekubal said...

Well, I don't come from the stand point of Hassidut, much. However, from the stand point of Kabbalah, there is a difference between Tzadikim and Baalei Ruah HaKodesh. A person can be a Tzadik and not be a Baal Ruah HaKodesh.

I once asked Rav Kaduri ZTz"L about this very issue, as he was telling stories of Rav M. Sharabi ZTz"L and Rav Shalom Hedaya ZTz"L, who both had such abilities. I asked if there people alive today who could do such things. He answered if they were Baalei Ruah HaKodesh, most certainly... However those are rare.

Tzadikim are much more common, especially those individuals that we often label as Tzadikim on account of their station. How many of those merit to the level of Ruah HaKodesh however is a different story entirely.

Anonymous said...

It all depends on how you define a tzadik; not every reference to the title "Tzadik" is the same. According to the Tanya a tzadik never even has a hirur aveirah.

Anonymous said...

as anonymous said the tanya diffines a tzaddick as one who doesnt have free choice and is a shaliach from hakodesh baruch hu and also who said they would want you to know they had ruach hakodesh

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

It sounds like all three of you are suggesting that not everyone who is called a Tzadik (even if they are one according to the Tanya's or others' definitions of a Tzadik) has ruach hakodesh.

Hamekubal, you're suggesting that there may be tzadikim who don't have ruach hakodesh. And anons 1 and 2 are suggesting that the person may be a Tzadik in the vernacular, but that since they aren't among the Lubavitcher Rebbes (or people whom the LRs have called a Tzadik), they probably don't fit under the Tanya's definition of a Tzadik which is why they don't have ruach hakodesh, even if other groups or other definitions of what a Tzadik is would call them a Tzadik.

I hear. Those explanations do answer the question. I'm just not sure the Mittler Rebbe was only talking about a Tanya Tzadik when he talked about them knowing about people's actions. And even if he is, why do we assume that those "Tzadikim" who we've met who don't seem to have Ruach Hakodesh aren't Tanya Tzadikim to begin with? They probably are.

At any rate, it just didn't sound from the ma'amar like he was only using the term "Tzadik" as such a term of art that it doesn't mean to include other Tzadikim (as we use the term in the vernacular) as well.

Gut Shabbos!

Snag said...

"For even in his lifetime, a tzaddik is aware of another person’s thoughts and designs, as is well known."

I believe the gemara states that Hashem made the world in a way that people do not know what others are thinking (obviously people can speculate and make educated guesses. Someone who is very wise may be very close to the mark. But that is different from claiming that they know it automatically or absolutely.)

Congratulations on the critical thinking, you may be zoche to become a Litvak someday! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Snag, just because something is true generally does not mean that it is true in*every* case. The gemara also recognizes the existance of ruach hakadosh & says that even though nevuah ended. Even snags accept the gemara, right? ;-) -dixie yid

snag said...

"The gemara also recognizes the existance of ruach hakadosh & says that even though nevuah ended."

Ruach hakodesh is not the same as nevuah, though there may be similarity and overlapping.

I think you are a person that seeks emes. The Rambam says that you should accept the emes from anyone. That means even from a snag. :)

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Snag,

I understand the difference between nevuah and ruach hakodesh. That was my point. The gemara says that we still have ruach hakodesh after the beis hamikdash ended. So that's what the Mittler Rebbe's talking about Tzadikim having. So I'm making the point that even you as a Snag have no reason to completely forclose the possibility that Tzadikim today have Ruach Hakodesh, when you should know from the gemara that this is possible!

Kol tuv.

snag said...

DY - You were discussing the claim that they know all people's 'secret actions, thoughts and plans'. That is not the same as ruach hakodesh.

mekubal said...

Hamekubal, you're suggesting that there may be tzadikim who don't have ruach hakodesh. And anons 1 and 2 are suggesting that the person may be a Tzadik in the vernacular, but that since they aren't among the Lubavitcher Rebbes (or people whom the LRs have called a Tzadik), they probably don't fit under the Tanya's definition of a Tzadik which is why they don't have ruach hakodesh, even if other groups or other definitions of what a Tzadik is would call them a Tzadik.


Primarily I fall back on the Mekubalim. Rav Kaduri Z"L said often that one regularly involved with communal affairs, and the troubles of people, could never hope to attain the hitbodedut and deveikut necessary to achieve Ruah HaKodesh(Divrei Yitzchak 321). The Ari states in Shaar Ruah HaKodesh that one needs a great amount of hitbodedut to achieve even the sparks of Ruah HaKodesh, much more than that to be a true Baal Ruah HaKodesh(Drush 1, and Drush 3).

A great many people that we hail as Tzadikim, were never Tzadikim gemurim, at least not according to the definition given by the Ari HaKodesh. Take for instance the last and the late Lubavitcher Admur. He never had children. The Ari states(Shaar HaGilgulim Hakdama 17, and 34, also copied by the Ben Ish Hai in Da'at U'Tevunah Chapter 40), that in not having children one has not fulfilled P'ru U'vru, one has not fulfilled mitzvat Brit Milah Kodesh(which is greater than all the other positive mitzvot Sh"A Y"D 160), he has not fulfilled Pidyon HaBen, he has not fulfilled the commandment to educate one's own sons. For all of these things, he has failed to achieve the level of being a Tzadik Gamur(and in truth very few people are according to his definition) and needs a reincarnation.

It is a problematic affair.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

And what did rav Kaduri say about the Rebbe?

And so there are no tzaddikim gomurim after Beis HaMikdosh was destroyed because we cannot bring korbanos? Or, for that matter, a person who has never given his wife a get because she cheated on him cannot be a tzaddik gomur? A person who has only girls cannot be a tzaddik gomur?

What that means is that someone who intentionally doesn’t have kids is violating a mitzva, of course.

A tzaddik gomur is someone who has eradicated his yetzer horah and does only mitzvos — within his physical boundaries — and has no desire to do aveiros.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

(Or, that he has eradicated even a trace of his yetzer horah. “My heart is dead within me.”)

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Suede,

Great points. And the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught two generations of people Torah. And, as the gemara in Sanhedrein says, one who teaches someone else's child Torah is considered as if he gave birth to them.

And as another commenter Menashe pointed out to me, the LR considered himself a father to all of the Chassidim.

Menashe said...

Snag,

Critical thinking is (or should be) a critical part of every Jew's life. The difference is that while you have talmidei chachomim, we have nesiim. Not merely a godol btorah but a Moshe Rabbeinu. And while we should all strive to understand as much as we can, that is different from questioning the truth. The difference is bittul. Look no further than the medrash brought by Rashi in parshas korach regarding the techeiles and the mezuzah.

The result is that those with a reputation for the strongest hiskashrus are davka those that bshita use their seichel in chasidus.

mekubal said...

And what did rav Kaduri say about the Rebbe?


I once asked Rav Kaduri about learning Lubavitch Chassidus... his response, "Stay away from the unclean thing." He wasn't a fan.

A person who has only girls cannot be a tzaddik gomur?
No. The Ari says specifically about a Tzadik gamur,
אפילו קיים את המצות שלא צריך לרדוף אחריהם כמו פדיון הבן ושלוח קן

And so there are no tzaddikim gomurim after Beis HaMikdosh was destroyed because we cannot bring korbanos?
Korbanot is not written in your siddur? Do we not say them every Shaharit and Minha? To be a Tzaddik gamur in the words of the Ari as can be found in the above mentioned sources, one must keep the mitzvot in thought(corresponding to Beriah) word(corresponding to Yetzirah) and in deed(corresponding to Asiah). Now in this case our sages instituted that as there is no Temple we are able to perform the Korbanot by reading them in a siddur with complete kavvanah.
A tzaddik gomur is someone who has eradicated his yetzer horah and does only mitzvos

Herein lies the essential difference in perspective between the mekubalim and hassidim. According to the Ari(Shaar Ruah Hakodesh drush 1), and Rav Haim Vital(Lev David chapter 1), there is no such thing as a person who has eradicated his yetzer hara, as the Ari says, "Even Moshe Rabbeinu sinned many times in many ways."

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I have reasons to doubt the truth of what you said.

http://jewish.yorgoopress.com/video/rav-kaduri-with-the-lubavitcher-rebbe/

And there are multiple stories about Rav Kaduri saying certain things about the Rebbe which I won’t share, since the Rebbe was against popularizing that.

About the rest, those more knowledgeable than me will respond. How do you know that the Rebbe wasn’t a gilgul of an earlier neshama who had sons? How do you know that by causing other people to have sons he didn’t fulfill this mitzva? Everything is so poshut with some people...

We are able to fulfill mitzvos in thought, but not in actions -- which is why we are davening to be able to do so. There are mitzvos given to Jews for particular circumstances. If those circumstances do not arise or are physically impossible to arise, he is not at fault for not fulfilling them. Like my example with giving a wife a get.

But yes, Chassidus often introduces chiddushim and thus contradicts the teachings of Arizal and Rachav. There is a famous story about kavanos of Baal Shem Tov for tkias ha’shofer.

A bigger disagreement between Chassidus and Kabbala is not about tzaddikim, but about Hashem.

mekubal said...

I have reasons to doubt the truth of what you said.


Go to his Yeshiva, pick a copy of Chitas from the shelf, any copy will do. You will notice something quite quickly... Tanya and Sichot have been cut out.

The same is true of the Yeshiva of his student Rav Beniyahu Shmueli Shlita. In Bet E-l where he was a Rosh Yeshiva for many years, they do not permit the books of Lubavitch Chassidut...

Why this is Chiddush is that all three of these places consider learning Chassidut to be of the utmost importance... just not that variety, preferred is that of Braslov and Kotz.

The video you reference is funny as the students of Rav Kaduri and Lubavitcher Chassidim see it in very different lights. As a student of the Rav I see him laughing, however politely, at the apparent ignorance the Lubavitcher Rebbe had of what is studied in a Kabbalistic Yeshiva, and then politely refusign the books of the Rebbe by changing the subject when they are offered.

Rav Kaduri always had great respect for the kiruv aspects of Lubavitch Chassidus, that video was however was done in 1990 before the Rebbe's controversial declarations of his own Messianism that brought such condemnation. What is telling is that despite Rav Kaduri ZTz"L's firm belief that one should visit the Gedolim of an area when visiting an area, he never again visited the Lubaviticher Rebbe, despite making three additional trips to NY before the Rebbe's death.

There are many apochryphal stories about the Rebbe, about every Gadol it would seem. Unfortunately often all they are is stories.

How do you know that the Rebbe wasn’t a gilgul of an earlier neshama who had sons? How do you know that by causing other people to have sons he didn’t fulfill this mitzva? Everything is so poshut with some people...

Read the sources and you will see that all of the above is technically impossible for a Tzadik Gamur.

But yes, Chassidus often introduces chiddushim and thus contradicts the teachings of Arizal and Rachav. There is a famous story about kavanos of Baal Shem Tov for tkias ha’shofer.

A bigger disagreement between Chassidus and Kabbala is not about tzaddikim, but about Hashem.


Right and according to what is written in Shem Gedolim of the Chida we(Sephardim and those who hold by the Chida...) are concerned that all that deviates from the Mesora of the Ari and the RaShaSh that it may not be from the side of Kedusha, especially when considering all that made it into the Shmoneh Shaarim was only that which the Ari recieved from Eliyahu HaNavi... the rest was published in other works, being Cholek on Gilui Eliyahu HaNavi can be considered problematic.

On the upside the Besht and many of his disciples actually merit mention in Shem Gedolim, unlike the Ramchal.

snag said...

Menashe: "The difference is that while you have talmidei chachomim, we have nesiim. Not merely a godol btorah but a Moshe Rabbeinu."

Feel free to delude yourself. Red zich ayn....