At the outset of the shiur the Rav said that we shouldn’t be distraught when tzaddikim are niftar from this world. But shouldn’t we be upset because we don’t have their guidance and also that we don’t have the protection they give us by just existing?
It’s a good question. Shouldn’t we have been upset when, let’s say, the Chofetz Chaim passed away? Shouldn’t we be upset that a great man passed away?
Absolutely we should be sad. The Gemara says when a tzaddik chalilah dies, מלמד שקשה סילוקן של צדיקים כשריפת בית אלקינו – it’s like the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed. And don’t think it’s just a mashal. The truth is that the death of a tzaddik is worse than the burning down of the Beis Hamikdosh because a tzaddik builds up in himself all the great Torah ideals, all the greatness of Torah and Awareness of Hashem; he trained himself to think about Hashem and to love Him and to walk in His ways. And therefore this man becomes in his mind a Beis Hamikdosh. He built a Beis Hamikdosh right here in his head! And when he dies it’s like the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. So of course, we weep. Absolutely. Absolutely!
Now, are we weeping because we’re missing his guidance, his wisdom? Suppose the tzaddik would have said, “I’m resigning. I’m not going to give any more advice to anybody. I’m going into a hermitage.” Nobody would weep that much. We weep mostly because of commiseration; sympathy for the fact that a great man lost his life.
Of course, the truth is that when a tzaddik goes lost, it’s a loss for us. A tremendous loss! The mere fact that he lived was a benefit for us. Even if a tzaddik doesn’t speak a word, his presence on this earth is a benefit for us.
And so we weep for that loss; the destruction of a Beis Hamikdash as well as the loss of a tzadik who benefited us by his mere presence. However, there’s a certain limit to our mourning. And after that limit is passed we are consoled because we know the tzaddik is in Gan Eden. We cannot imagine the happiness of the reward in the afterlife. No matter what you’ll say, you’re going to understate it. It’s such an eternal ecstasy that the tzaddik is enjoying right now that it’s impossible to have sympathy for him now.
Let’s say, the Chofetz Chaim; I remember when he passed away. I was present at the hesped in Kovno. After all these years, am I going to weep that he passed away? He wasn’t going to live forever after all. He’s in the next world now. The only thing I can do is envy him. That’s all I can do; I’m jealous of him; of his happiness, of his success forever and ever.
And so, that’s how we should view all the things in this world – as Hashem views them. And everything in this world is nothing but a preparation for our great career in the World To Come. This tzaddik prepared his whole life for the World to Come and that is our consolation, that we know he’s in Gan Eden now.
TAPE # E-43