Parshat Vayakel: Believe in all the true Tzaddikim
Based on the writings of Rabbi Natan of Breslov.
Shemot 35:2: “And it shall be holy for you on the seventh day, a Shabbos of resting…”
If someone gets lost in the wilderness or a desert, and they no longer know which day of the week is Shabbos, the halacha tells us that this person should count six days, and then sanctify the seventh.
Not only should he stop doing any form of melacha - the 39 types of work that were associated with building the Tabernacle, and which are forbidden on the Sabbath day – he should also make Kiddush on that seventh day, and recite the Havdala blessing at its conclusion.
No-one knows which Tzaddik can really help him
Rav Natan tells us:
“The same is true regarding drawing close to the true Tzaddik. Now that the world has entered into a state of confusion, and there is strife between Torah scholars, no-one knows the absolute truth, i.e. the identify of the true Tzaddik who can help him to become completely rectified spiritually.”
The darkness has become so deep that from the time of the Baal Shem Tov on, there have even been people who have made it a mitzvah to say they don’t believe in any of the Tzaddikim!
But Rav Natan tells us:
“This reasoning is clearly faulty. On the contrary, we should believe in all the true Tzaddikim.”
How to identify a true tzaddik
Don’t get confused! A true tzaddik is not someone with superficial Torah wisdom who only learns in order to impress others, receive an important communal position, or to build a name for himself.
True Tzaddikim also don’t occupy themselves with non-Jewish wisdom, and they start far away from the sort of ‘Greek philosophizing’ that has entrapped so many of our brethren, down the ages.
If a Jew has turned away from the words of the holy Gemara and the words of our Sages, stay far, far away from them.
But Rav Natan tells us:
“When it comes to those Tzaddikim and upright individuals who conduct their affairs in accord with our Sages of the Gemara, Midrash, Zohar, writings of the Ari and the Baal Shem Tov and their disciples – it is forbidden to dispute any of them. We must believe in them all.”
Searching for the ‘Shabbos’ Tzaddik
Today, we are so confused we don’t know who the true Tzaddik is. But nevertheless, it’s not enough to honor each of the Tzaddikim we meet. We must also pick one – the ‘seventh’ and sanctify him, by drawing closer to him.
Because the true Tzaddik is an aspect of Shabbos – and until we know for sure who that ‘shabbos Tzaddik’ is, we need to stay close to one particular Tzaddik in the meantime, until G-d will have mercy on our souls and enlighten our eyes.