tzaddik as battering ram

The Noam Elimelech (Parshat Chayyei Sarah) asks a cool question: How is it that some Tzaddikim fast and all but torture themselves to reach a level of holiness called Hassidut, whereas some simple people come by that level far more easily?

He explains that the Tzaddik batters down the door for the rest of us. Which, to my simple mind, is a great tool for the rest of us to break our egos. Perhaps everything we've attained is only in the zchut of the hard work of the Tzaddikim, and we haven't even begun our own labors yet? Thinking in this way can certainly keep you humble--though don't let it depress you.

Another Torah from the same part of the Noam Elimelech teaches that the yetzer harah of Tzaddikim sometimes tells them that they've attained the level of dust, so they don't have to work anymore, they've already rectified themselves. So the Tzaddik needs to remind himself that he (too) hasn't even begun his labors so that he can always serve God in the manner of one who has just started down the path of service in God, where he is at full strength and with great longing. (and very inspired)

So, we don't have it so different, we both need to remind ourselves of the road ahead. We, unlike the Tzaddikim, can take comfort knowing that there are Tzaddikim out there always easing our way.


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