Friday, October 12, 2007

tzadik b'dorosov - keeping up with life

Noach may have been a tzadik only relative to his peers, or in spite of his peers, but whichever nuance is correct, shouldn’t the pasuk have said he was a tzadik “b’doro” – why the plural, “dorosav”? Noam Elimelech writes that each generation has a particular mitzvah which it must perfect. Noach’s life spanned multiple generations, and he was able to master the particular mitzvah challenges unique to each of those doros.

I think there are two messages here. First, the obvious one: Don’t be the general constantly fighting the last war. Imagine a person who is a big tzadik and watches no TV, but then along comes the internet and he is glued to his browser 16 hours a day. That person was the tzadik hador, but not the tzadik b'dorosov – the world moved on to new challenges and he could not keep up. Second, the more subtle one: imagine a guy who works at perfecting his mitzvah of talmud torah, learning without interruption for 16 hours a day through yeshiva. Along comes marriage, job, child #1, child #2, etc. and the guy is still learning 16 hours a day while his wife gets no rest, his kids run wild, and he has no income or career. That person is working on the wrong mitzvah for his dor. He is putting all his kochos into talmud torah, while ignoring the opportunity and signs Hashem has given him that he should be working on perfecting the mitzvah of chessed (not to say he should ignore talmud torah k’neged kulum, but the experience must change). Again, such a person is the tzadik hador, but fails the test of being tzadik b’dorosov.


  1. excellent points -- especially the second one.

  2. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Actually I think point two is open to question.Assuming his wife agrees to have no rest and devote her life to her husbands learning, his kids running wild would not have been affected by his learning less, and he is on the level of Bitochan so as not to to worry about careers or income his learning for 16 hours a day under such circumstance makes him even a bigger Tzadik then a Bocher who did so with no worries.

  3. Anonymous,
    If you choose to live in a cave with no clothes, heat, or water and live off wild berries you probably could devote every second to torah and forget everything else in life - but kol ha'omeir ain lo elaha Torah... (I'm sure you know the rest).

  4. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Yes I know the rest.It is reffering to one who is only osek in Torah at the expense of other MITZVOS.I don't see the relevance here.It's just an exxagerated example.Only one of the level of Ben Azai may avoid marraige for the sake of Limud H'Torah and even RSBY only lived in a cave because he had no choice.

    As a working professional myself I am familier with many Gemorahs and Rishonim about the importance and value of honest work (lets stress HONEST)together with Talmud Torah.

    That however doesn't negate my value of those that are 'Torahsum Umnosom' and I wish I was on the level to be one of them.The more sacrifice for Torah the better.

    Since I'm confident we have passionate conflicting views on this issue I won't comment further.

  5. >>>at the expense of other MITZVOS.I don't see the relevance here

    Exactly - you fail to see how raising a family and supporting them is itself a mitzvah of chessed and only view it as something that robs time from other pursuits, albeit noble ones.