August 24, 2017 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm #1346695
Can someone who is non religious be a Tzadik?
Lately I have been reading more and more about Janusz Korzak. He was child advocate in the first half of the 20th century in Poland. He lead many Orphanages both jewish and non-jewish. Ultimately he was head of the jewish Orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto Because he was famous and respected in Poland he was offered a chance to leave the ghetto , but he refused to leave the children. When the orphanage was ordered to empty and head to the train to Treblinka, A nazi who recognzied him (He was a childrens book author) offered to let him espcape and he refused and boarded the train to Treblinka along with the Orphans of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Would you consider such a person a Tzadik even though he wasnt religious (He did keep his orphanges kosher and Shabbos because many of his foundlings were from relgious backrounds and he did not try to convert them to any philosophy he might have had)August 24, 2017 3:01 pm at 3:01 pm #1346882DaMosheParticipant
It depends. The Rambam defines a tzadik as someone whose zechusim are more than their aveiros. According to that definition, anyone can be a tzadik – we just don’t know how Hashem views each person and judges their actions, so we don’t know who is or isn’t a tzadik. We can make assumptions based on what we do see, but we may not be correct.
Chassidim usually use the definition given by the Baal HaTanya. Chassidim believe that a tzadik is someone who was selected for the role by Hashem. The role can’t be attained by a person, it needs to be a gift from Hashem. The tzadik has their human instincts for any inclinations completely subdued, and experiences pure d’veykus. The tzadik’s job is to act as a vehicle to raise up others, to help them get closer to Hashem.
According to the chassidic definition, almost nobody can become a tzadik – only a few people who Hashem picked. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a good, caring person, of course!August 25, 2017 6:32 am at 6:32 am #1347034
Also, how do you define Non-Religious vs. Religious? There are many Mitzvos and Aveiros in the Torah. Most Jews perform some Mitzvos and commit some Aveiros regardless of whether or not they define themselves as Religious.
How would you compare someone who keeps Shabbos but speaks Loshon Hora vs. someone who doesn’t keep Shabbos but never speaks L”H? Why should the first person be considered Frum and the second one not-Frum? Or what if someone has been Frum his whole life but never bothered to learn Hilchos Shabbos properly so he is in fact mechalel Shabbos every single Shabbos?
Or what if someone keeps all the technical halachos but has no relationship with Hashem whatsoever vs. someone who has a hard time with technical halacha but is very good at Chovos HaLevavos and has tremendous Emunah and Bitachon?
Or someone who excels at Bein Adam L’Makom but has a hard time with Bein Adam l”chaveiro vs. someone who excels at Bein Adam l’chaveiro but has a hard time with bein Adam l’Makom?
As Chazal say even the simplest Jew is as full of Mitzvos as a pomegranate. May be zoche to always see the good in every Jew!August 25, 2017 6:32 am at 6:32 am #1347028
I’ve always thought so especially if they are a tinok shenishba. Even if someone is not a tinok shenishba, I would still think that he could be a tzaddik especially if he is someone who saved someone’s life, whether physically or emotionally.
I’ve also always been under the impression that someone who dies “al kiddush Hashem” (religious or not) is considered to be on an extremely high level. (I think there is something specific said about such a person – I forget what, but I know they are considered to be on a really high level).
And anyone who is killed because he is Jewish is considered to have died “al kiddush Hashem”.
btw, there is a really fascinating book called “Gutta: Memories of a Vanished World” by Gutta Sternbuch & David Kranzler about her experiences as a Bais Yaakov student and teacher before and during the War.
At one point, she worked in Korzak’s orphanage. He used to encourage her to teach the kids about Yiddishkeit and Emunah. He told her that it’s too late for him, but he thinks it’s good for the kids to learn about Emunah and Yiddishkeit.
I am not Hashem and I don’t know His Judgments, but based on what I know of Korzak, I would imagine that I would have what to be jealous of in terms of his Cheilik in Olam Haba. (Although at the same time, he has what to be jealous of my cheilik in Olam Hazeh).
We don’t know Hashem’s Judgments, and we don’t know each person’s story – his Mitzvos and his aveiros and his life-story and the specific challenges he had to overcome. Hashem judges each individual based on his potential and how well he fulfilled it.
There are so many factors that go into judging a person and most of these factors are unknown to others. That is why we can never (or almost never if not never) judge another person.August 25, 2017 8:29 am at 8:29 am #1347091YesOrNoParticipant
Lilmod-Ulelamaid: Wow! Very well said!August 25, 2017 8:29 am at 8:29 am #1347093
It seems Korzcak is treated like a Saint by the Non-Jewish poles and honestly I barely heard of him (I did hear of the last train ride, but he was more of an after thought).
The more I learn about him, the more I am convinced he truly was likely one of the 36 Tzdakim and he isnt even usually talked aboutAugust 25, 2017 8:30 am at 8:30 am #1347097yungerman123Participant
he died Al Kidush Hashem, for being a Jew, and therefore his neshama is zocheh to an elevated place in Gan Eden regardlessAugust 25, 2017 8:50 am at 8:50 am #1347137
As yungerman123 notes, the point is moot due to his current galactic residence.
The question is, besides for his dying, how does he rate?
I think based on his experience and a quick reading of his Wikipedia page, it’s obvious that he was against religion and did not believe in God.
Now only that, but he actively tried preventing ydshivaz from operating and indoctrinating children to be religious.
Being a human and acting humanistic because you feel that the right thing to do, and specifically not because God told you to do so is not a Mitzvah. It is the opposite of that.
So no, he wouldn’t be considered righteous in Jewish law.August 25, 2017 9:34 am at 9:34 am #1347171
There is a Machlokes if someone does a Mitzvah for a reason other than hashem told you to if you get credit for it or not. its not Pshat that its not a Mitzvah and certainly not an AverirahAugust 25, 2017 10:47 am at 10:47 am #1347193
Being executed by the government by is an atonement even without teshuva (Baba Batra 10b). As for their status in life, if someone it is very complicated. Rav Dessler says in Kuntras Nekudat HaBechira that the weights for mitzvot and aveirot are different for each individual according to each one’s spiritual level. It could be that if someone from a secular background only refrains from pork and shellfish Hashem considers him better than someone from a yeshivish background who relies on various leniencies. Moreover, one act can get a person into Olam HaBa (Avoda Zara 17a).August 25, 2017 10:48 am at 10:48 am #1347191
There’s no question that if it was done intentionally NOT because God told him so, rather in spite of it, then it’s definitely not a mitzvah.
What you’re saying is that if a Jewish person does something and isn’t aware that it’s a Mitzvah, he receives benefit for it. That is correct. But that’s not the case here.
By all accounts, people who intentionally denying God’s existence, are considered wicked. Wicked people do some good things. It’s not a contradiction.August 25, 2017 11:54 am at 11:54 am #1347198Leviyitz70Participant
A goy can be a Tzadik but a Jew who is m’kallel Shabbos knowingly is like an idol worshiper, and not even considered Jewish. He can make tshuvah and again be a part of of Am yisroelAugust 25, 2017 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm #1347209
A Yid can only be a tzaddik by being a Shomer Shabbos (among other requirements.) Lacking Shmiras Shabbos it isn’t possible he’s a tzaddik.
A goy can only be a “tzaddik” by fully and intentionally maintaining all Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach.August 25, 2017 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #1347307
YesOrNO – thanks so much!August 25, 2017 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #1347306
“He was a totally assimilated Jew, whose parents were unaware of their rich heritage. I learned much from this great humanitarian, and he in turn learned to appreciate Judaism from me.”
(ibid, p.89).August 25, 2017 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #1347305
“In caring for the children, I taught them blessings and Hebrew songs. When they went to bed, I recited the Shema with them and t old them Jewish stories. I knew many miracle stories of tzaddikim, and I invented others. The children were captivated by these tales that allowed them to escape to a different world. They used to beg me, “One more story, one more story!”
Occasionally Dr. Koczak would sit in and listen. He told me that me was impressed by the impact I had on the children……
On such occasions, I would talk with Dr. Korczak at length, sometimes late into the night. Dr. Korczak asked me to tell him about how I had come to learn in the Bais Yaakov Seminaray. He was curious and open to everything that I told him.”
(ibid, p. 91)August 25, 2017 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #1347304
“In 1941, shortly before Rosh Hashanah – just a month or so after I began working for Dr. Korczak – I had a conversation with him that I recall vividly. It was already quite late when Korczak asked me to speak with him. From outside, we could hear shooting. The children were asleep, and the lamp cast a light on his bent and tired figure.
Korczak asked me about my parents and my Jewish education. He told me that he wanted me to intensify my influence on the children. “I myself am lost,” he said, “but I am looking for a word of strength for my children and for myself. I am desperately looking for a prayer to G-d.” He sighed.
“Dear child”, he said to me, “please help the children. Show them your love for G-d. Share with them your trust in Him. Tell them about Rosh Hashanah. Tell them that G-d is so close that everyone can speak to Him. Do you promise?”
That Autumn, Korczak organized Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prayers in the orphanage.”
“Gutta: Memories of a Vanished World” by Gutta Sternbuch & David Kranzler; Feldheim Pubishers: 2005, P. 91-92.
Need I say more? (but hey, if you think that Wikipedia is a more reliable source of information….)August 25, 2017 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #1347317
I don’t think we’re arguing. You’re saying that he did tesusvah before he died. That’s Grand. Then he’s obviously not controversial. The question is if someone lives non religiously, intentionally, and does some humanitarian work, is he considered righteous. Answer is no.
I read that book a while ago, right when it came out. When she died I actually went to be Menachem Avel her family in the West Side. I must have missed her interactions with Korczak.August 25, 2017 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #1347604
Yitzchokm – glad to hear we’re not arguing. I do think that one thing that should learn from this is that one should be careful about believing the negative things they hear/read about other Jews especially if it’s from a non-reliable source.
Even if the Wikipedia article was technically true, without hearing that he did teshuva, one would be left with an inaccurate perception.
And we don’t even know that the article was even true. According to halacha, it’s assur to believe negative things one reads/hears about another Jew.
It is an extremely difficult halacha to keep, but we can start by realizing that media/internet sources are not reliable sources. Additionally, as can be seen in this case, even if something is technically true, there may be missing information which presents an entirely different picture.
Note: I’m not saying this to criticize. I am sure that if I had read the Wikipedia article and not the book, I would have had the same impression.August 25, 2017 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm #1347606
I did have another point as well:
Regarding this statement: “The question is if someone lives non religiously, intentionally, and does some humanitarian work, is he considered righteous. Answer is no.”
I am not sure that I would agree (although it might depend on the specific details of the specific situation). In this case, the purpose of one of my quotes was to show that he was a tinok shenishba. If someone is a tinok shenishba, I think that they can still be considered a tzaddik.
And even if someone is not technically a tinok shenishba, but rather, someone who grew up Frum and went off the Derech because he had a difficult life, but saved many Jewish children and died Al kiddush Hashem, I think that he could still be considered a tzaddik.
It could be that you are not disagreeing with that statement, but that you were specifically referring to someone who denies G-d’s existence and tries to prevent people from learning Torah and keeping Mitzvos. From your above posts, I wasn’t 100% clear if that was what you meant or not.August 25, 2017 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #1347607
In a similar vein, I am Frum today because of someone who mekareved my mother when she was young and then went on to become Reform and an Apikorus and lead people astray.
I have no idea how Hashem judged him in Shamayim when he was nifter. But I do think that it was a Mitzvah that he mekared my mother and I am sure that he is getting schar for it, and I do think that I have to be makir tov to him.
When he was nifter, I told my mother that she should go be menachem avel the family so that they can get some nachas. They were very surprised to find out that he had ever mekared anyone and I think that it did give them some nechama.August 25, 2017 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #1347608
“I read that book a while ago, right when it came out. When she died I actually went to be Menachem Avel her family in the West Side.”
Cool.August 25, 2017 6:43 pm at 6:43 pm #1347614DaMosheParticipant
Joseph, do you have a source for that claim?August 25, 2017 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #1347624motchah11Participant
DaMoshe, I believe the Bal HaTanya is talking about tzaddikim GEMURIM, not tzaddikim.August 25, 2017 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #1347625☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
The very definition of the word “tzaddik” is someone who conducts himself according to the letter of the halachah.August 25, 2017 7:57 pm at 7:57 pm #1347631LubavitcherParticipant
A tzadik is someone who has a neshuma chadushaAugust 25, 2017 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm #1347628motchah11Participant
Exactly. Anyone can become a tzaddik. A tzaddik gumer, however, is chosen, and also has to choose to be a tzaddik.August 26, 2017 9:56 pm at 9:56 pm #1347634
Leviyitz and Joseph,
Rav Kook, in a letter to a rav whose sons became communists, compared the spirit of the times to an evil seductress (see Sanhedrin 26b with Tosafot d”h hechashud). I heard that Rav Scheinberg also said that today the forces of tuma are so strong that even a yeshiva bachur who goes OTD can be considered a tinok shenishba.
Rav Ovadia ruled that a Jew who does not keep Shabbat does not cause wine to be prohibited (Yabia Omer 1 YD 1).
Rav Asher Weiss also says that today a Jew who does not keep Shabbat is not necessarily considered to be like a goy. That would only be if he disconnects from the Jewish people (Rav Weiss said if he marries out).August 27, 2017 12:28 am at 12:28 am #1347638Rabbi of CrawleyParticipant
someone who is mechallel shabbos is considered a goy as written in the gemara so he may be a righteous gentile,August 27, 2017 8:08 am at 8:08 am #1347717
Mr. Crawley, he is not considered a gentile. He simply has a few legal disabilities in common with gentiles. However, his kiddushin would be a good kiddushin, to give just one example.
In any case, as i posted this does not hold true today.August 27, 2017 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm #1347940
“In any case, as i posted this does not hold true today.”
What doesn’t hold true today? Regarding the wine issue, you quoted Rav Ovadiah. I haven’t looked up the source, so I don’t know what he says, but I know that l’maaseh, most Rabbanim do say that it’s assur. It is something that I have had to ask sheilahs about, and I was never told that it’s not a problem.
In any event, I don’t think that has any bearing on whether or not the person is considered a tzaddik. And it certainly doesn’t make them a goy. Even if someone is a tinok shenishba and even if they are considered completely not at fault for being mechalel Shabbos, the wine is still assur. So that can’t be used as proof of whether or not they are a tzaddik.August 27, 2017 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1347993anIsraeliYidParticipant
Lilmod Ulelamed – I can tell you that I was specifically told that the fact that someone is not Shomer Shabbos does not cause wine they touch to become Assur. This psak was given in a Kiruv context, where we were having a non-observant family over for a Shabbos meal. I asked my Rav if I had to get wine that was Mevushal, and he said that in nowadays, we do not treat a non-frum Jew as a non-Jew for the purposes of Yayin Nesech – unless the Jew is following another religion.
Of course, you should ask your own Rav, as there clearly are different views on this.
an Israeli YidAugust 27, 2017 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1347972DovidBTParticipant
Here’s a related, interesting comment I recently encountered:
“A tzaddik is so captivated by the love of G-d that he attends to mundane matters almost casually, preoccupied, as he is, with far more exalted interests. During ordinary discussion his mind relates the subject at hand to G-d by natural transfer, like a lover whose every experience reminds him of his beloved.”
From page ix in the introduction to the Book of Nehemiah, in Daniel-Ezra-Nehemiah, Kesuvim / The Writings, Mesorah Publications Ltd., 2016.August 27, 2017 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm #1348069
Either way, there definitely seem to be many opinions that it does apply, so I still don’t agree with the above statement of Avi’s.
But in any case, as I wrote above, I still don’t think it’s a raayah that he can’t be a tzaddik.August 27, 2017 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm #1348068
IsraeliYid – that is really interesting. Thank you for sharing. Personally, when I asked the sheilah that was not was I told despite the fact that there were extenuating circumstances – I think even more than in your situation.
What I was told was that there are opinions that as long as he doesn’t actually touch the wine (which would be a pretty weird thing to do, IMHO), that it’s okay. I was told that I could rely on this, b’dieved, (meaning that the wine was not assur once it had already been served when the person was present). I did not have the impression that I was supposed to rely on this, l’chatchila, but that may have had to do with the way in which the question was asked, so I can’t say for sure.
In any case, it seemed clear that according to this Rav, the prohibition definitely existed; the issue was that it had not been violated as long as he didn’t actually touch the wine.
One of the reasons that I wrote that most Rabbanim hold this way was that I was thinking that this Rav was not the machmir type and he didn’t mention another opinion despite the fact that there were extenuating circumstances. But I just remembered that I’m not sure how machmir/maikel he is, so it may not be a raayah.
On the other hand, this is a topic that has come up several times, whether it was a sheilah that I had, or in other peoples’ homes when the sheilah arose or in conversations, etc, and I have never heard that opinion before (despite the fact that I know many “types” of people with varied hashkafos) , so I was surprised to hear such an opinion, and it makes me wonder if it is a “mainstream” opinion or not, but it’s definitely possible. I’m sure there are many things that I have never heard of before.August 28, 2017 1:23 am at 1:23 am #1348203
LU, as stam yainam is a rabbinic prohibition (as are the disabilities on non-observant Jews) a safek is l’kula (and here it is a d’rabbanan within a d’rabbanan). Certainly if you are in a situation where you might push the person further away you should be meikal. If you google “non-observant Jews wine” you will get a number of articles on the subject.August 28, 2017 7:57 am at 7:57 am #1348223anIsraeliYidParticipant
Lilmod – the Rav I asked was Rav Belsky, ZT”L, and his psak was for a specific situation. Rav Belsky was pretty mainstream, and was definitely someone to rely upon, but the psak was for a specific situation – so as noted in my earlier post, please ask your own Rav for a psak in your situation.
an Israeli YidAugust 28, 2017 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm #1348519
“Certainly if you are in a situation where you might push the person further away you should be meikal.”
That wasn’t an issue in my case – all I had to do was to make sure to put the non-mevushal wine away before Shabbos.
In any case, the point is that the halacha still applies, even if there is room to be maikel. That was my point. You seemed to be saying that it doesn’t.
But again, as I pointed out earlier, it’s not a proof in any case that a not-Frum Jew can’t be a tzaddik.August 28, 2017 1:00 pm at 1:00 pm #1348561
Someone who isn’t Shomer Shabbos can’t be a tzaddik. Period.August 28, 2017 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #1348606
Joseph has spoken!
Can we have a source please for that assertion?August 28, 2017 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #1348628
The same source that a serial killer isn’t a tzaddik. What’s the source for that?August 28, 2017 2:36 pm at 2:36 pm #1348652☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
LU, what is the definition of the word tzaddik?August 28, 2017 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #1348764
According to what you wrote above, one would have to be perfect.
There are different possible definitions. In the current context, I don’t think it was referring to perfection. I also don’t think it was referring to one of the lamed-vav-nikim or the Gedolei Hador.
I understood that it was being used in the colloquial sense of describing someone who is a “very good person” who has performed very big Mitzvos for which he will receive tremendous reward in Olam Haba.
I understood ZD’s question as being: “Can the term “tzaddik” be used to describe someone non-Frum the same way it is used to describe someone Frum?”
When someone Frum performs a lot of Chesed (for example), people refer to him as a Tzaddik even if he has many faults (as long as he’s not a serial killer, etc). So ZD’s question was, “Can someone who is not-Frum likewise be considered a Tzaddik for similar or bigger reasons even though he is not Frum?”August 28, 2017 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #1349403
In the non Jewish world Oskar Schindler is considered a saint, even thought he did lots of bad things.August 28, 2017 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #1349530
ZD – I was thinking of that, actually. I have often wondered how we are supposed to view him. On the one hand, he saved a lot of Jews, so it seems that we should have hakaras hatov, but on the other hand, he was a really bad person.
A tinok shenishba is not a bad person, but Shindler did things that even goyim know are bad.August 28, 2017 7:47 pm at 7:47 pm #1349691
What vices did Shindler do?August 29, 2017 3:17 am at 3:17 am #1349936WinnieThePoohParticipant
I always thought that davka because Shindler was an amoral degenerate makes his acts of saving Jews even greater. It means that someone did not have to be a “saint” or super-human to stand up to the Nazis; if someone with very questionable ideas of right and wrong can have so clearly seen that sending Jews to slaughter was wrong, then what can the rest of the population say?August 29, 2017 3:17 am at 3:17 am #1349938
“The same source that a serial killer isn’t a tzaddik. What’s the source for that?”
Apparently, you think that it’s obvious that a serial killer can’t be a tzaddik and that this is proof that someone who does not keep Shabbos can’t be a tzaddik. So you obviously consider think there is a difference between the two (since you were assuming that it would be obvious that the serial killer can’t be a tzaddik even if the mechalel Shaboos can be). Therefore, it doesn’t prove anything.
In any case, why are you putting the two in the same category? Is it because they are both aveiros? Are you trying to say that someone who does an aveira can’t be a tzaddik?August 29, 2017 7:05 am at 7:05 am #1349965
WTP – the question still remains: Would you call him a Tzaddik?August 29, 2017 7:22 am at 7:22 am #1349983
It is unlikely Schindler could have done what he did if he was not a moral dengenerate. He had to speak to the other Nazis on their level.
He had to drink and gamble with Goeth YMS to get Goeth to play along
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