Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Let me begin by thanking The Jewish Press for inviting me to write a regular column for the Jewish world’s leading weekly, which reports the news and sets the pace on issues so important to us all.
My column is called “Charming Nation” as my goal is to make my brothers and sisters aware of how charming we are in the eyes of the Holy One Above.
I’d like to offer the following question: At the Pesach Seder we read about the four sons – the wise, the wicked, the simple and the one who does not know how to ask – but where is the righteous son, the tzaddik?
Every time we mention the rasha, the wicked son, we can’t help but think of his antithesis. But the righteous son, the tzaddik, is absent in the Haggadah.
When we get to the portion concerning the four sons, doesn’t every father and mother start looking around the table at his or her children and thinking about what category each child is in?
But do parents realize that they, too, are children? Who am I? And who is my wife (because when we talk about “son” we mean daughter, too)?
And is each son or daughter absolutely wise, wicked simple or dumb? Or are they a little of this or that?
Personally, I think there’s a little of each one inside me, and my inner struggle is to know how to control and deal with all sides of myself.
Now, in this Pirkei Avos season, let’s go to chapter four of the Ethics of our Fathers where Ben Zoma asks, Who is wise? Who is strong? Who is rich? Who is honored? Again we see the absence of the tzaddik, the righteous. Why?
The answer is found in the phrase from Isaiah we read each time we are about to study the Ethics of the Fathers: “v’amech kulam tzaddikim” – your nation is phenomenal in that each individual is a righteous person.
Let’s apply this to the Haggadah and the four sons (daughters): “One is a wise righteous son, one is a wicked righteous son.” Wait, how could this be? A wicked righteous son?
I found such a beautiful insight in the Gutnick Chumash, which quotes the Lubavitcher Rebbe as asking how we could name a Torah portion after Korach, a man who challenged Aaron and insisted on becoming high priest, dragging along so many people with him, aggravating Moshe Rabbeinu and causing the earth to swallow people alive.
And the Rebbe said, don’t look at his deeds but rather his intentions – he longed for holiness, something every Jew should do. As Ben Zoma says, “Who is wise? He who learns from all people.” Even Korach showed the “tzaddik” in himself, because Hashem’s nation is a kehilla of righteous individuals.
All of the above is actually an introduction to this newest chapter in my life.
Many of you may know that I’m on the radio in New York nightly, reporting the news from Israel on Zev Brenner’s Talkline from my home in Israel, where I’ve had the privilege to live for the past 28 years.
As was reported last week on JewishPress.com, ax-wielding intruders attempted to break into a building, directly behind Kever Rachel in Bethlehem, and I, acting in my capacity as building manager, managed to stop them.
The loud whacks were actually heard on both the Zev Brenner and Country Yossi radio programs as this time I was quite literally delivering the news live from Israel.
I had come to the rescue of a tzaddekes named Evelyn Hayes, who purchased the building over ten years ago and has now been locked out. The intruders see Evelyn as the real intruder and they think some loophole in the original sale might win them the building.
Like Korach, they see themselves as righteous even in their wickedness. They saw me as a wicked man who wouldn’t allow them into a building they believe they are entitled to.
This is one big balagan that includes the four sons of the Haggadah – the wise, the wicked, the simple, and even those who don’t know how to ask.
I am looked at by Evelyn as righteous, by the other side as wicked, all this while “A voice is heard on High, Rachel weeps for her children…. and the children will return to their borders.”
In the night the ax was axing, in court the judge will be judging, in the merit of the tears of Mother Rachel the righteous will be vindicated and the wicked will be cast down.
But in the mirror on the wall, each participant will stand tall and, at the end of it all, “v’amech kulam tzaddikim” – we are all special in Hashem’s eyes.
A charming nation.
Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums of original composition. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at email@example.com. His column will appear in The Jewish Press every other week.
About the Author: Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Jewish Press column appears the third issue of each month.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
“Mr. Prime Minister, declare a unilateral ceasefire! Remember, Blessed is the peacemaker!”
Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza
The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.
Isn’t it comforting to know that our God loves life, grants life, and promises eternal life?
While the phrase “Let It Be” implies doing nothing, “Lu Yehi” implies working toward a goal.
An Israeli company should make “Arafat’s Dead Sea Tonic” with this warning: “may cause severe vomiting or even death.”
“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.
Boundless love was something Rav Kook had for the nation of Israel. Just as one cannot question the boundless love of Hashem for Israel, one cannot question the boundless love of a Torah giant for his people.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/dov-shurin-columns/where-is-the-tzaddik-look-in-the-mirror/2012/04/25/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: