Tuesday, August 01, 2006

r' tzadok's fasting to avert the churban - setting goals in avodas Hashem

Chazal tells us (Gittin 56) that Rav Tzadok fasted for 40 years to try to forestall the impending tragedy of the churban, yet in the end, despite R’ Tzadok’s great tshuvah and avodah, the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed. The Radomsker (Tiferes Shlomo) asks: does this mean that those 40 years of fasting were for naught? We might ask ourselves the same question – despite all those who are davening, returning to do tshuvah, and learning for the sake of peace in Eretz Yisrael, the daily rocket barrages continue. Is our avodah for naught?
The Radomsker writes that the answer to this question is a basic yesod in avodas Hashem. R’ Tzadok did NOT make a 40 year effortof fasting to avert the churban which failed. Rather, R’ Tzadok made a 1 day effort of fasting and tefilah to avert the churban each and every day which was successful for over 39 consecutive years!
Each day is its own spiritual battle. Our task is to focus on the moment, the day, what can be done now, and measure success against that yardstick without looking at what will be in the next week or month or year. For example: a person who sets out with the goal of finishing shas at some point is going to lose steam and have second thoughts – the burden of the goal seems so distant and overwhelming. But if instead of setting the goal at finishing shas, a person sets his goal at learning just 1 blatt today, and repeats that goal the next day and the day after, a person can have hundreds of successful accomplishments in talmud torah regardless of whether they reach the cumulative goal of one masechta, one seder, or all of shas.
If a person thinks that by his or her tefillah the entire war will be won, peace in Eretz Yisrael completely achieved, or some other overwhelming result, he/she is bound to be disappointed and left with nagging doubts whether his/her avodah is making a difference. But if one thinks of the one rocket that landed in a field instead of on someone's house, the one soldier who may have escaped harm, etc. , then I think one can draw chizuk from the many "little" things our tefillos and teshuvah surely have played a role in influencing.


  1. Chaim Dov5:26 AM

    Would it be possible to give exact references for statements like "R’ Tzadok haKohen m'Lublin writes..." or " The Radomsker (Tiferes Shlomo) asks.."?

  2. I usually try to, at least for gemaras. The Radomsker is in cheilek 1 of Tiferes Shlomo around parshas devarim (there is a page or two devoted to shabbos chazon and 9 av). I neglected the mareh makom for the R' Tzadok haKohein on Friday - you can find it in Pri Tzadik on Parshas Matos as well as onthe haftarah for Shabbos Devarim (he says the same vort a few times with different nuances).

  3. I once heard a different hesber. Just because we don't see our tefillos being answered today, they are still "stored" somewhere" and at some point HKBH will use them. We just don't understande why then and not now.

  4. I believe that idea stems from the Besh"t. How do you understand it?