Day 32/50: The Makings of a Tzadik

Day 32/50: The Makings of a Tzadik

וַיְקַדֵּשׁ֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם וַיְכַבְּס֖וּ שִׂמְלֹתָֽם

And he was mekadesh the people, and they washed their garments.


Many bachurim think that they are alone in their struggles. They are dead wrong. Everyone has a Yetzer Hara. We all sin; even gedolim and Tzadikim. No one is perfect, so even if you sin over and over again, you can still become a gadol and a Tzadik. In fact, you actually become a Tzadik from falling and getting back up again. By pulling the strength and courage from deep within you to be able to rise back up again, you become stronger and braver. That is the meaning of the Pasuk“Seven times do the Righteous fall and get up.” 


R’ Yitzchak Hutner, in an astonishing letter to a talmid who was struggling in the area of Kedusha writes:


Know my friend, that the key for your soul is not the tranquility of the yetzer hatov, but the war against the yetzer hara. Your letter testifies that you are a faithful warrior in the army of the yetzer hatov. There is a saying in English, “Lose the battle and win the war.” You surely have stumbled and will stumble again, and you will be vanquished in many battles. However, I promise you that after you have lost those battles, you will emerge from the war with a victor’s wreath on your head.

The wisest of all men [King Shlomo] said [Mishlei 24:16], “The tzaddik will fall seven times and will rise.” The unlearned think that this means, “Even though a tzaddik falls seven times, he will rise.” But the wise know well that the meaning is: “Because a tzaddik falls seven times, he will rise.”

On the verse [Bereishit 1:31], “And Elokim saw all that He had made and it was very good,” the midrash comments, “‘Good’ refers to the yetzer hatov; ‘Very good’ refers to the yetzer hara.” [In line with this midrash, R’ Hutner continues:] If you had written to me of your mitzvot and good deeds, I would have said that it was a good letter. Now that you tell me of your falls and stumbles, I say that I have received a very good letter. Please, don’t picture to yourself that a gadol and his yetzer hatov are one and the same; rather, imagine the gedolim at war with all types of base (bad) tendencies . . .

🌤️ Today I shall…

…remember that a tzadik isn’t someone who doesn’t sin, but rather someone who gets up again and again, while learning from his failures.

For more on this beautiful idea see this article.