Sunday, May 8, 2022
Rabbi Revah’s Shiur
The Kotzker Rebbe on the
Tzidkus of Chanoch
Chovos Halevavos and the Kotzker
Rabbi Revah is learning Chovos Halevavos in Shiur. The portion we are learning today deals with the reasons why the Torah does not describe the reward for doing Mitzvos are in the next world. The Chovos Halevavos says that certain great Tzadikiem who are already attached to the next world are shown their reward in the next world. He brings down a Pasuk in Zechariah that says that Yehoshua Cohen Gadol was shown his reward in the next world because he understood what the next world is all about. The Chovos Halevavos writes:
אחד הטעמים הוא: מפּני שׁאין אנו משׂיגים איזה צורה ישׁ לנפשׁ כּשׁהיא בּלי גוף, ומכּל שׁאין בּכחנו להשׂיג איזה דברים גורמים לה תענוג וצער כּשׁהיא בּמצב זה, וה׳ פּרשׁ את הדברים הללו רק למי שׁמבין את הענין הזה, כמו שׁאמר ה׳ ליהושׁע הכּהן הגדול (זכריה ג ז): ונתתי לך מהלכים בּין העמדים האלה (עג)
עג. בּין העמדים האלה, בין השׂרפים ומלאכי השׁרת העומדים פּה. (רשׁי ומצודת דוד)
We see that the reward for great people, great Tzadikim in the next world, is to be an angel on a higher level than angels who were created by God. Angels created by God are called עומדים. They are stationary, they cannot go up in levels of spirituality. People are called מהלכים because humans can go up and up in levels of Holiness, by doing MItzvos, learning Torah and connecting to God. Yehoshua Cohen Gadal will be better than an angel. He will be an angel directory connected to God with the ability to continue to grow.
When I heard this piece from the Chovovs Haelaovos, I told Rabbi Revah that this is the source of the Kotzker on Chanoch. The Kotzker learned the Chovos Halevavos, refer to Page 4..
The Chumash says in Bereshis 5:24 – וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ חֲנ֖וֹךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְאֵינֶ֕נּוּ כִּֽי־לָקַ֥ח אֹת֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים׃.
ויתהלך חנוך. צַדִּיק הָיָה וְקַל בְּדַעְתּוֹ לָשׁוּב לְהַרְשִׁיעַ, לְפִיכָךְ מִהֵר הַקָּבָּ”ה וְסִלְּקוֹ וֶהֱמִיתוֹ קֹדֶם זְמַנּוֹ, וְזֶהוּ שֶׁשִּׁנָּה הַכָּתוּב בְּמִיתָתוֹ לִכְתֹּב וְאֵינֶנּוּ בָּעוֹלָם – לְמַלְּאוֹת שְׁנוֹתָיו (בראשית רבה):
The Kotzker Rebbe asks on Rashi, how can you say that Chanoch was Kal Bidato, when Chanoch became the angel מט״ט? Since Chanoch became the angel Mitat, it must be that Chanoch was a great Tzadick in this world. How do we understand Rashi who seems to diminish Chanoch? We see from the Chovos Halevavos and the Pasuk in Zechariah that great Tzaddikim become high level angels. This I believe is the source of Kotzker’s question. If Chanoch became the high level Metat, Chanoch must have been a great Tzaddik.
In my Shabbos October 26, 2019 Blog Post on this Kotzker I explained the Kotzker Vort on Chanoch and I added an addendum about Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach.
Much Earlier Blog Post:
Chanoch walked with God then he was no more, for God took him. Rashi explains that Chanoch was a righteous man, but his mind was easily induced to turn from his righteous ways and to become wicked, God therefore took him away quickly and made him die before his full time.
It appears to be very difficult to anyone who reads this Rashi. Is it possible to say about Chanoch who was the angel “Mitat”, the official angel of the inner sanctum of God, was heaven forbid easily influenced to do evil.
The Kotzker continues that it seems that the explanation is just the opposite – it was easy for Chanoch to speak to the heart of a sinner to leave his path of wickedness. God was therefore afraid through Chanoch that free choice (in the world) would be gone; therefore He hastened to remove Chanoch from this world before his time. Meaning Chanoch was a super Lubavitcher Rebbe. (Source Lekutai Magadim, Volume 1 (Page 11A).
Wow. The Kotzker turns Rashi 180 degrees and says that Rashi is talking in praise of Chanoch.
A few years ago Rabbi Pilchik told me the above Vort and said the below follow-up in the name of an anonymous Rebi. Rabbi Ephraim Twerski confirmed the Vort and told me that it was his Zedi, the Dizikor Rebbe.
- The followup by Rabbi Pilchik – The night after saying the Vort the Dzikov Rebbe had a dream where Rashi appeared to the Dizikor Rebbe and thanked him for the explanation. Rashi told him that when Rashi saw Chanoch in the next world, they did not look at each other because Rashi disparaged Chanoch. Now that you explained what I said regarding Chanoch that he was a complete Tzadik, we are friendly. After Rabbi Pilchik and Rabbi Twerski told me this Vort, I found the Vort in this Sefer and also in the name of the Kotzker’s son, Admor Dovid Morgenstern TZL (1809-1873), and was ecstatic. The Kotzker lived from 1787-1859.
Perhaps both interpretations in Rashi can be true at the same time. The more a Tzadik and people are out in the world interacting with people, the more he can be susceptible to be negatively influenced by the people and society he is trying to help, especially if they are speaking to the inner Neshmah of that person. Perhaps you can say something similar to what happened to Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach and this is why Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s music is greater than ever, because it came from a holy place.
This Maamer lends an important insight into the Kotzker. He was always looking to find the positive and good in everyone and everything. I have found that this mindset influences the writings, ideas, and thoughts of his descendants.
The following is from the Sefer Amud Haemes, page 248: Rabinu is the Kotzker.
Pasuk from Zecharia Pasuk 7:3:
כֹּה־אָמַ֞ר יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֗וֹת אִם־בִּדְרָכַ֤י תֵּלֵךְ֙ וְאִ֣ם אֶת־מִשְׁמַרְתִּ֣י תִשְׁמֹ֔ר וְגַם־אַתָּה֙ תָּדִ֣ין אֶת־בֵּיתִ֔י וְגַ֖ם תִּשְׁמֹ֣ר אֶת־חֲצֵרָ֑י וְנָתַתִּ֤י לְךָ֙ מַהְלְכִ֔ים בֵּ֥ין הָעֹמְדִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃
So said the God of the Hosts. If you walk in My paths and keep My charge, and you in turn will rule over my house, and guard My courts; then after your death and you go up to the heavens, I will make you a מהלך among the עומדין – the עומדין refers to the Seraphim and administering angels whose level is fixed. However, Yehoshua Cohen Gadol will be a מהלך, able to go on higher and higher levels of holiness.
The PIschai Lev, a Perush on the Chovos Halevavos, says that בֵּ֥ין הָעֹמְדִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ refer to the Se to the Seraphim and the administering angel. Actual words of Rashi and Metzudas Dovid –
The Metzudas Dovid says –
ונתתי לך מהלכים. ר״ל ומלבד זאת לא יקופח שכרם בעולם הנשמות כי אתן להם מהלכים וטיולים בין המלאכים האלה העומדים פה כמ״ש למעלה ויאמר אל העומדים לפניו :
העומדים. שרפים ומלאכי השרת שאין להם ישיבה: Rashi