Stories of Tzadikim / 10 a Jewish game

Hold on to Shabbos with
Stories of Tzadikim
With Rav Yussie Zakutinsky


Gut voch everybody. Let me tell you a Maiseh. One of the great tzadikim was the holy Ruzhyner. Reb Yisroel of Ruzhyn. He was a unique tzadik even since he was a child, the truth even from before he was born. Tzadikim say that when his mother was pregnant with him whenever she would go to a chashuv tzadik, they would stand up for her. The tzadik would say I don’t know who it is that you’re carrying, but whoever you’re carrying is a big neshama. From the time he came to the world he was mamash Kulo Ohr. 


There’s a Maiseh we have from the Ruzyner from when he was 7 or 8 years old. His father took little Yisroel to the side, and told bhim you’re already 8 years old and very smart. I want to teach you something. He asks what is it? His father says I want to teach you how to play chess. Listen, it’s a really interesting game, it challenges the mind, many tzadikim would play so he wanted to teach his son. Yisroel the little Ruzhyner is sitting next to his father who’s going through the chess-board introducing all the pieces. 


After Yisroel gets a handle of all the pieces and how they move around, what the objective of the game is, he asks his father a very innocent question. What happens if we’re playing, I make a move and then I pull back and I realize that it was a mistake. Can I go back and undo the move? His father says, Yisroel’ke that’s not how this game works. If your finger is still on the piece you can put it back. But if you took it off then you can’t take it back. Yisroel’ke then says, Tatte with all the respect, I never want to play chess for the rest of my life. Chess is not a jewish game. Such a thing that when a mistake is made you can’t undo it, that’s not a jewish game. A yid shouldn’t be playing such a game. That’s what little Yisroel’ke said. 


Listen, chess is an okay game to play. But the lesson to learn from that, that a game where we can’t undo a mistake isn’t jewish. The whole tachlis of yiddishkeit is to fix. Moshe Rabbeinu gave us a Torah that was taken from the Malachim. How was he able to take it? BEcause we have challenges, we have taivos, the whole essence of Torah is fixing. If a person realizes he has what to fix then that’s good, that’s exactly why we're alive. As long as we’re alive we’re here to fix something. To think that we can’t fix, it’s the opposite of what it means to be a yid. This week Hashem should bless us that we have a week of fixing, of Tikkunim. As long as we’re here there’s what to fix. We should grow, with tikkunim, shefa bracha Ve’Hatzlachah. 


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