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Insights - Q&A on Redemption


Is it possible that tzadikim who live in the time of exile will reach a higher spiritual level than the righteous people who lived in the Temple era?



It is not only possible for tzadikim during exile to be on a higher spiritual level than tzadikim in the times of the Temple, this has already happened. It is said of the famous kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal), that he managed to reach spiritual levels higher than could be grasped by the righteous people in the time of the Temple.

However, it is known that during Temple times the Divine presence was more manifest than during exile. How, then, is it possible that in a time of concealment, a tzadik can transcend the level of the righteous people during a time of revelation?

Chassidic teachings explain that in a certain sense, the concealment of the shechinah gives an advantage to some tzadikim. The revelation of the shechinah and its concealment can be compared to a person who is speaking and a person who is thinking. When one is speaking, he reveals his thoughts. However, one who is standing silently, thinking, is revealing nothing. Yet, it is in our private thoughts that our true self can be seen. One who has the capability of "reading thoughts" is privy to the innermost person, as he or she really is.

Tzadikim are like those who can read thoughts. They were blessed with the ability to connect to higher spiritual levels than the average person can reach. Therefore, when the Holy Temple stood, when G-d wanted to reveal Himself and rest His shechinah upon everyone, the tzadikim were likewise limited to whatever revelation G-d chose to give at that time.

However, in the time of exile, when the shechinah is hidden and G-d is in a state of "thought," so to speak, the tzadikim make use of their ability to "read G-d's thoughts" and connect to Him in this way.

In the time of Redemption, all Jews will connect to those lofty levels that are now reserved for tzadikim. In fact, they will surpass them.

Torah Or, Vayetzei, 22:4. Likutei Sichot vol. 18, p. 399. Torat Menachem, 5751, vol. 4, p. 51



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