Stories of Tzadikim / 19 As long as you live
Hold on to Shabbos with
Stories of Tzadikim
With Rav Yussie Zakutinsky
Gut voch everybody. The great Rebbe of Radzin, Reb Gershon Henoch was a grandson of the Izhbitzer, Reb Mordechai Yosef of Izhbitz. The story goes like this. Reb Gershon Henoch, even as a tzaddik, an adult was a very fiery, confident, creative personality. People that are like that as adults usually start off like that as children as well. So when you have a child who has a big neshama like Reb Gershon Henoch coupled with that creative, energetic, confident changing the world type of personality it could sometimes become a difficult thing to manage.
Reb Gershon Henoch was a little kid and he was walking in the city. In Izhbitz at the time, there was a stream, a river and there was a narrow foot-bridge to cross that stream. The width of the bridge was only wide enough for one person to walk at a time. It happens to be that Reb Gershon Henoch’l as a kid is trying to cross and to his mazel there’s a person walking in front of him. This was an elderly chassid who was walking very slowly.
Reb Gershon Henoch’l is getting a little bit antsy so he starts pushing to try to get through. The older chassid turns around and says how dare you push me, do you know how I am? I’m an einekel of the chozeh of Lublin. Reb Gershob Henoch’l on the spot without flinching says so what, the Chozeh is dead. My grandfather is the Rebbe and he’s alive. The old man hears this and is shocked to hear such a thing so disrespectful about the Chozeh.
After crossing the bridge the old man goes to tell on the little boy so he goes to the Izhibtzer. He knocks on the door, he goes in and tells the Rebbe what happened, he tried to cut me off and I told him I’m the einekel of the Chozeh and he says who cares the Chozeh is dead and my grandfather is the Rebbe he’s alive. The Izhbitzer was shaken up to hear that, he calls in his grandson and he says, nu is it true that you said that? The kid answers, yes I said it. The Izhbitzer begins to shake, to say such a thing and talk like that about the Chozeh? Who am I compared to the Chozeh. Reb Gershon Henoch’l as a kid begins to get nervous, feels a little bit bad and begins to cry a little.
The Izhbitzer then says, but the truth is, the Chozeh is dead and I’m alive. And as long as I’m alive, I can be as great as Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. That’s what he said to his grandson.
That’s an amazing thing. Of course it goes without saying to respect gedolei hador. But as long as you’re alive, it means that you have a spark of the divine within you and the sky's the limit. Why limit yourself to the Chozeh, you can be as great as Rebbe shimon Bar Yochai. As long as you’re alive.
The Chozeh was niftar, the Izhbitzer was niftar. Tzadikim of past generations are no longer here but we’re alive. As long as we’re alive we have to dream and aspire to be great people, if we aspire to be bigger then maybe we’ll become the people that we have to become.
Hashem should help us that this week should be filled with Brachos, yeshuos and potential to be actualized. B’vias G’oel Tzedek B’mheirah B’yamenu amen.