Stories of Tzadikim / 25 Staying warm through the winter
Hold on to Shabbos with
Stories of Tzadikim
With Rav Yussie Zakutinsky
Gut voch everybody, I’ll tell you a maaseh. One of the great chassidim of the Tzamach Tzedek named Reb Hillel PAritcher and he would repeat this story that happened to him, in this time of Elul. And to him, this brought out what Teshuva and Elul is all about.
He was walking on a late winter night in Russia somewhere. Those days, the Czar had a palace that he lived in, but the Czar had many different palaces. Even though the Czar was only in one palace at a time, every palace had to be guarded and respected because it’s still his palace and he coukld theoretically be there. One time, Reb hillel Parithcer was walking by one of these palaces, and he heard a lot of screaming and moaning, it wasn’t normal. He goes in to see what’s going on, he sees a young soldier who’s being beaten mercilessly by his higher ranking officer.
It was a strange sight, he goes over and there’s a whole commotion over there. This young soldier was charged with standing guard and watching the place of the Czar. Most likely the Czar wasn’t even there, and unfortunately this young boy fell asleep and his officer cae around to check on him and caught him slacking off from his job.
The proper mode of conduct is when the higher ranking officer walks by, he’s supposed to stand up. This young guy fell asleep and his boots froze to the ground, and this is why this kid is being beaten up.
While this is happening this kid is begging for his life, please just have compassion on me. It’s so cold, I fell asleep for one minute and my boots froze. It’s so cold and i’m so tired it’s not my fault. The office said I was there 10 years ago when you took an oath to serve the Czar. That oath should keep you warm to this day.
Reb Hillel Paritcher said nu, in the Tanya it says every single one of us before we come to the world we take an oath that we will be a tzaddik not a rasha. And even if the whole world is telling you you’re a tzaddik, don’t think your work is done. We take this oath then get sent to the world with all the coldness of the inter, the tough times, our oath has to keep us warm, an inner desire to be able to make sure our boots don’t freeze to the ground.
Reb Hillel Paritcher says the avodah of Elul is to remember that oath that we took, Elul will help us dance, to go vaiter and fulfill that oath today, keeping us warm in the cold winter.
Hashem should help us, this week as we get closer to the Yomim Noraim we should be zocheh to remember that oath, this is ultimately the secret of Teshuva, to keep us warm with this oath. We should be zocheh to have a week of yeshua and nechamos b’vias goel tzedek b’heirah b’yamenu amen.