Parashat Metzora

Take this Path

The Tsaddikim, who see us inside of our maze, know two things about us.  They know what we feel and they know what the truth is.  They know how hard it is for us and how much we don’t believe in ourselves, they know how much we are scared and panicked, and they understand us and respect what we are going through.


Rav Yisrael Asulin

Translated by Moshe Neveloff

Sunday, 2nd of Nisan, 5776


What does it mean to have a connection with a Tsaddik?

Why do we even need a connection with a Tsaddik?

Maybe we don’t need one?

Is there a reason that we need a connection with a Tsaddik?

Yes, the reason is the maze.

There is a maze.  The Ramchal[1] talks about this in his book the Path of the Just (3rd Chapter), and we all know it far too well.  It’s a garden full of sealed paths, where you walk and get confused and become perplexed.  Where am I?  Maybe I made a mistake and I need to go back to the beginning?  Maybe I’m on a path with no exit?  There’s a wall here, where do I go now?  If I’ll knock on it enough times there’s a chance that a door will open for me, or maybe I’ll just sprain a few fingers from knocking so much?  Is there somebody else who’s walking on such a scary and weird path?  Maybe I’m the only crazy one here in this garden?  Maybe I’m the only one who’s not succeeding and all the other people who were here before me beat me to the finish line with great excellence and without any inhibitions?  What is wrong with me that I’m not succeeding?  Who am I in any case?  Why am I here?  Where do we go?  Maybe I’ll stop and not continue anymore to any place?  Maybe every step only makes me more distant from the destination?

How can we know, all of those who are in the maze, what our exact direction is?

Above, the Ramchal teaches, on a platform in the middle of the maze, stands someone who sees all of the paths before him, he sees if we are going in the right direction or how distant we are, and he can direct us and tell us: “Take this path!”

These are the Tsaddikim, who’ve already been on the route through the maze.

They’ve already walked here, like us.  They too, like us, walked in these dense, unclear paths, dark from so much exile and wet from so many tears.  They also walked here and didn’t know if they were going the right direction, and maybe they even got lost.  Maybe nobody sees them anymore and we don’t need them and they’ll continue walking on the path mistakenly without any exit until the final day.  They also fell into the open trenches on the side of the road, and came out of them drenched with blood.  They also had an evil inclination, which strode with them on this entire winding path, and it tempted them, and weakened them, and hid the light, and took away hope, and did everything it could in order to make them despair and fall into sadness and heresy.

Yes, they know this path.  They walked on this path.  They fought on this path, struggled with the evil and searched for the good.  They wanted Hashem, screamed to Hashem and didn’t stop requesting.

Today they are on the platform in the center of the maze.  All of the paths are spread out before them, all of the places where you can make a mistake and all of the pits, all of the blocked alleys and opposing paths.

So it’s true, there is the written Torah and the oral Torah and millions of books providing guidance, and books about Jewish law and ethics and thought; nevertheless, you need a connection with Tsaddikim.

Take, for example, when the Torah describes in fine detail how to identify impure skin blemishes- it’s shades, dimensions and different types, the Torah nevertheless requests: “This shall be the law of the metzora on the day of his purification: He shall be brought to the Kohen.” (Leviticus, 14:2)  In order to be purified- come to the Kohen, and he is the one who will help you identify the type of skin affliction and be healed from it.


Because all that they want is to help us in our journey.  To promise us that it’s possible.  To tell us that it’s not complicated like the evil inclination tries to convince us.  We, specifically us, we can do it.  They tell us that we have the strength, that we are loved, and the most important- that we are not alone.

This might be the most amazing and essential revelation that the Tsaddikim reveal to us, and say over and over again in our ears: you’re not alone!  You’re not alone!  Until now you thought that you were here by yourself; you are in front of Hashem who is expecting you, with shortness of breath, to already reach the platform in the middle of the maze.

But truthfully, you are not alone whatsoever.  Truly, you are both here together walking on the paths through the maze.

What if you make a mistake?

Hashem is with you!

What if you’ve reached a path with no outlet?

Hashem is with you!

What if you fell down and failed?

Hashem is still with you!

Instead of hiding from so much embarrassment, lift your eyes to Him and tell him: “You know, Abba, it’s really hard for me to pray in a minyan[2]”; or “I’m not able to overcome anger, and it’s painful to me.  I know that anyone who expresses anger at others, all types of Gehinnom take control of him, and nevertheless, I fail time and again”; or “I don’t feel whatsoever that you’re with me, could it be that you went away and I’m alone?  Or maybe you weren’t here at all?  How can I know?  Everything is hidden and I’m afraid and don’t know anything.  Please, don’t be angry with me that I don’t believe again, just give me a sign…”

The Tsaddikim, who see us inside of our maze, know two things about us.  They know what we feel and they know what the truth is.

They know how hard it is for us and how much we don’t believe in ourselves, they know how much we are scared and panicked, and they understand us and respect what we are going through.

However, they also know the truth.  They know that truly we are good, even if we don’t make progress and just retreat.  They know that Hashem is good, and is found everywhere, and he watches over us and walks with us hand in hand, listens to our every word, to every syllable, to every groan.

And they know that our path, including the falls and the mistakes and the crashes and the closed pathways, is truly good, and it’s for the best.  They know that we are walking to a good place, and that surely, without a doubt, we will merit all of the good.

With these two pieces of knowledge, they stand strongly there, on the platform in the center of the maze, looking at us with good and loving eyes, and all that they want is to help us on our journey to Hashem.

[1] Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, an important Rabbi and Kabbalist, lived in Italy in the 1700s

[2] Prayer gathering of 10 Jewish men

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