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tzaddik yesod olam

“צַדִּיק יְסוֹד עוֹלָם”

The tzaddik is the foundation of the world (Proverbs 10)

There’s an amazing statement in the Zohar (II:38A):

“יֵרָאֶה כָּל זְכוּרְךָ אֶת פְּנֵי הָאָדוֹן יְיָ’. מַאן פְּנֵי הָאָדוֹן יְיָ’? דָּא רִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחָאי”

The Torah says “[Three times a year], you must see the face of your master, Hashem”. Asks the Zohar, “What/Who is the face of Hashem? This is Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai“!

What does this mean? Is Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Hashem, G-d forbid?

In Tinyana 67, Rebbe Nachman explains how the world is created of the four elements, fire, water, earth and wind. Those four elements are the four streams that were split from the river that flowed from Eden to water the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2). The river itself is that one tzaddik, who’s the beauty and splendor of the world. He’s the eyes of the world. The four elements are also the four parts of the eye [three colors and the pupil]). Through the tzaddik, we’re able to see Hashem. The elements flow into the world through the tzaddik. These elements can lead us astray. Fire is our anger, water is our lust, earth is depression and wind is our pride. By neutralizing his ego, a human being can elevate himself out of this world, above the four elements, and be more aligned with Hashem than with this world. This wonderful tzaddik, like Hashem, is a simple oneness. The Rebbe calls it יְסוֹד הַפָּשׁוּט. By conquering his ego, he has embodied the Divine oneness that precedes these elements.

נִמְצָא כְּשֶׁנִּתְגַּדֵּל שֵׁם הַצַּדִּיק, נִתְגַּדֵּל שְׁמוֹ יִתְבָּרַך וְכָל מַה שֶּׁנִּתְגַּדֵּל יוֹתֵר שֵׁם הַצַּדִּיק, נִתְגַּדֵּל יוֹתֵר שְׁמוֹ יִתְבָּרַך

“When the tzaddik’s name is glorified, Hashem’s name and glory is more magnified in the world”, because when the tzaddik nullifies his ego, all that’s left of him is his Divine image. So when we see the tzaddik, we’re seeing an unadulterated tiny aspect of Hashem. We’re obviously nothing without Hashem, but Hashem wants us to be his feet in this world. We expand his recognition. The more we limit our prides and lusts, the more we make a vessel for His light to shine. It’s a beautiful light. He wants us to have it, but He also needs us to shine it.

~ Based on a shiur of Rabbi Leibish Hundert

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