Stories of Tzadikim / On the shoulders of ordinary people

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

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A Gut Voch everybody. They say that when the Baal Shem Tov davened shachris Mincha or Maariv he had a very long Shmonei Esreh. One particular davening everyone was finished and people were standing around in the back waiting for the Baal shem tov to finish on Shabbos morning. Some of the chevra got together and said, usually we know how long the Baal Shem Tov’s Shemonei Esreh is and we figure, we’ll have a little bit of time right now. Let’s go home, we’ll learn a little bit, make Kiddush and by the time we’re done we’ll come back and the Baal Shem Tov will be done. So they went home, they made kiddush and learned a little bit. 

They came back, and the Baal shem Tov was sitting there waiting for them. He asks what happened? They say “Rebbe we’re so sorry usually the Shmonei Esrei is much longer and we expected to have a little more time but I guess it went quickly today.” The Baal Shem tov says “Let me tell you a story.” 

There was once a group of yidden and they were walking through a forest. One of the people noticed a rare and magnificent bird on top of the tree. One of them decided that it would be worth it to try to get the bird, it’s worth a lot of money and it would be a good thing to have. The problem is, none of the people were capable of climbing the tree all the way to the top. So they all decide that what they’re going to do is build a human pyramid. Then there’ll be one person to climb up the entire pyramid to get the bird. So everyone stacks on top of each other and one person is designated to climb all the way up. As he’s climbing up all the way to the top, the Baal Shem Tov says one of the guys on the bottom started thinking to themselves the following. “Listen, what do you need me for? There’s this whole pyramid, I’m not even on top, what am I needed for? I’m unnecessary so let me just leave and everyone else will take care of it.” So that’s what he did, he climbs out of the bottom row, stands up and starts walking out. Obviously what begins to happen is everyone begins to fall on each other because he was on the bottom row, and they needed every single member to make a stable pyramid for the person to climb up to the top to grab the bird. 

The Baal Shem Tov said “Listen, I go to very high places in my Shmonei Esrei, but you know how or why I’m able to? It’s because of you! We’re building something together. It looks like my Shmonei Esrei is private and yours is private as well but we’re all making this pyramid together. I’m climbing up and building upon all of your avodah in order to get  that bird on top of the tree. But if you think that you could leave in the middle then guess what? The whole thing collapses then I can’t reach where I usually go to. When you guys leave the room, of course my Tefillah is shorter, I can’t reach that high without you being there!”

There’s a big lesson for us to learn. We see tzadikim who accomplish big things and what are we? They build on us. Every single member of Klal Yisroel is a nuclear plant of divine energy. When we come together, that’s what creates the infrastructure to allow tzadikim to reach high places. We can’t ever think “What am I worth? What’s the significance of my Avodah? Who cares about me?” 

The greatest of the great are only able to accomplish what they can, because of all of Klal Yisroel who created the pyramid for them to climb on. When they eventually reach that bird and accomplish whatever they can accomplish it’s because of every single one of us. We should remember that and be mechazek our avodah. Even if it feels like we’re not accomplishing much, we're a part of that bigger pyramid and it’s because of us that great things are being accomplished by very special people. 

Haahem should bless us with that confidence, with emunah within ourselves, emunah in tzadikim. It should be a Gezunte Voch, a Lichtogeh Voch, a week of emunah, of madraigos of Avodah. We should be zocheh to see the Geulah B’mheira beyamenu Amen. 


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