Where are all of the Tzaddikim… Where are you?
Parasha Emor – May 8, 2020 / 14th Iyar 5780
“Say to the Kohanim (The Priest), the children of Aharon, and tell them, ‘You shall not let your Nefesh become tameh’…” Vayikra 21:1
The Nefesh is the spiritual part of us that directly interacts in this world, the world of action. The Nefesh’s primary function is to acknowledge and to submit to HaShem’s Kingship in this world. This is done through action, what we choose to do and how we choose to be. Rav Shlomie Twersky translated tameh as “the limitation of potential”. Therefore, we can translate the pasuk above to say: “you shall not let the part of you that acknowledges HaShem’s Kingship in the world to lose its potential”.
The Ishbitzer Rebbe goes on to explain that each one of us can connect to this pasuk because “A Priest means anyone who worships HaShem. Anyone who sees that no matter what happens in the world, nothing occurs by accident; HaShem’s Divine Providence governs every event. A Priest is one who knows that HaShem’s sole desire is to do good for His creation.” Therefore, on some level, we can all be Priests.
When we accept HaShem as King in this world it is possible for us to become resentful toward Him when we see things that don’t make sense- pain, suffering, loss, etc. For some, this causes them to disconnect from HaShem’s Malchut and Oneness in the world, which causes “soul tameh,” meaning they disconnect from their potential to be a light of HaShem in the world. The Ishbitzer Rebbe goes on to say, “Soul tameh means holding resentments against HaShem.”
Rashi comments on the above pasuk that the double use of the verb say/tell is “To admonish the gedolim (the elders) regarding the smaller ones (the children).”
The Noam Elimelech says that the implication of Rashi’s comment is that we should admonish the gedolim, or mochin d’gadlus, expanded and elevated thoughts to counsel and encourage the smaller ones, or the mochin d’katnut, to stay holy (focused) even in the constricted state. The state of resentment spoken about above.
Now open your hearts with me. Each one of us walks through life experiencing ups and downs. At times we feel like we are soaring like an eagle and at times we feel like we can barely move. Each one of us must believe that we have the potential to bring HaShem’s Manifested Light into this world – that is why we are here. We cannot hide behind statements like, “there is no prophecy in the world”, “I am not a Tzaddik”, “The Ruach HaKodesh doesn’t move in me.” When we have these thoughts we have allowed our nefesh to become “Soul tameh.” We make statements like these because somewhere, maybe deep inside, we are holding resentment toward HaShem.
The Noam Elimelech implores us to allow the moments we have felt connected to HaShem, the moments that we have felt Him move in us, to counsel the part of us that feels resentful. We have the power to do t’shuvah (return) by simply acknowledging that HaShem is in control and that we are not resentful. This t’shuvah unlocks our potential to be who HaShem created us to be and to be “Priests”- those who bring His wondrous light into the world through the actions of our lives.
The labels of Navi, Tzaddik, Priest all are important and have meaning – but we cannot let them get in the way of our avoda and responsibility to be what HaShem created us to be. You and I may not be Tzaddikim, but we can allow HaShem to flow through us and we must live a life that works for and yearns for those moments.
This is our avoda, to never hold onto resentment toward HaShem, to crown Him King in every situation of our lives in order that His Divine presence can move through us to bring the revelation of His light and Kingship into this world.
Master of all things, I am sorry that I have resented you. I truly desire to walk with You in this world and I know that resentment, subtle or overt, limits my potential. I know that I am not a Tzaddik, but every day, I want to work to have moments of being like a Tzaddik. I desire You more than anything and I yearn to see Your Malchut, Kingship, in this world. Please give me the strength, in moments that I am weak, to allow the moments that I was strong to influence me and to bring me back up. Bless me with the strength of awareness to never allow resentment to sneak in and cause my nefesh to lose its potential. Give me the strength to walk as your servant with Yishuv HaDaas and Yishuv HaLev.
Shimon Aaron HaMesharet