Which country had the most Tzadikim?

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  • #2134184
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    Israel for sure is at the top. But where else?

    #2134231
    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Perhaps Eretz Yisroel. Not Israel.

    Bavel?

    #2134245
    ujm
    Participant

    In the postwar era, America had more than other countries until, approximately, the petira of Rav Moshe, Rav Yaakov and the Satmar Rebbe. Afterwards Eretz Yisroel had more.

    In the pre-inquisition era, the Sephardic lands had the great Gedolei HaTorah. Ever since the Spanish expulsion, the great Gedolei HaTorah have by and large been in the Ashkenazic places.

    #2134253
    akuperma
    Participant

    “Most” in this case is largely a function of total population. A small village of lamed-vav’niks will probably have fewer tzaddikim that a large city most of whose inhabitants are evil, but only a small minority are tzaddikim.

    Then you have to define time periods and “country”. In terms of total population with a “sovereign” country, the United States in recent generations is roughly tied with Medinat Yisrael as it is today with total population, though many would argue that the Roman Empire at one point had a great population of Jews (probably at the start of the period in which Nero was elected imperator, since he started the process of many Jews looking for non-Roman areas to migrate to combined with “ethnic cleansing” of Jews in Eretz Yisrael.

    So in raw number, the most “tzaddikim” would probably be found in either Eretz Yisrael today, or the Roman Empire at the end of Bayis Sheini (estimating populations in ancient times is a problem). While the US has as many persons of Jewish descent as Eretz Yisrael today, most are assimilated.

    If you look at percentages, you will have to deal with many Jewish communities in which almost everyone was frum, and many were in “sovereign” city states – but until the modern period (largely due to improved medicine and food supply) populations were much lower.

    #2134252
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Currently America is Bavel, melting pot.

    #2134280
    besalel
    Participant

    ujm: interesting take. doesn’t it discount the chazon ish, the steipler and the post-war gedolim of israel, though?

    #2134320
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    prewar Hungary, Poland, Lithuania

    #2134343
    ujm
    Participant

    Besalel: No, because we’re talking about quantity. Of course those you mention rank in in the top, but there were still more of them in America at the time.

    #2134358
    Sara Rifka
    Participant

    thes Tzadikim moved with Hashem guiding arm ….. to save the Torah he transplanted our people all over the world and at odd times…now I believe Israel has the Tzadkim……the world at large is void of the hand that once protected Torah….it is here in Israel….I wish someone would add more….this is as far as I have gotten….we are home for a reason

    #2134378
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    ujm, I don’t know if that estimate is accurate – yerushalayim had tons of gedolei olam, including rav shlomo zalman, roshei yeshiva of chevron, mir, ponevezh…

    I think it’s about equal in quantity, too

    #2134432
    Lostspark
    Participant

    Are we factoring in every yid being a big tzadik?

    #2134529
    abooseinak
    Participant

    Very ignorant question and something we discussed when we were in first grade. To ask who had more righteous people is something only God can answer as you can have a simple person that controls his inclinations and character traits and is far more worthy of being called righteous Than a Rosh yeShiva. That knows the entire Torah, perhaps, but fails to control his character and humility ,remember “Tsaddik” means righteous. On the other hand ,If you would like to ask who produced more scholars, that’s also difficult bec i’m sure you’ve never heard of a lot of scholars that were in Europe and Lithuania because they weren’t famous or didn’t write books that left a legacy and how much more so you have no idea on the situation in Middle Eastern and Sephardic countries. Perhaps a better metric, would be who which country produced more books , which is also not going to be accurate because they were many many books produced in sefardic countries that never made it to Print, because they did not have that technology and to print would mean sending something to Italy, which was very expensive, and of course, most did not have the money for that. I remember being in a library in israel with many sefarim on shas and shulchan aruch but have never made it to print.

    #2134540

    Probably Bavel with Jewish community existing for ~2500 years, uncluding Naviim, Amoraim, Gaonim

    #2134544
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    Ujm you’re wrong. An assortment of Sephardic Gedolim after the inquisition:

    Radbaz (Egypt), Or Hachaim (Morocco), CHIDA (EY), Rashash (Yemen), Beis Yosef (Spain), Pri Chodosh, etc etc

    #2134552
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Yabia, the taimanim are not sefardi at all.

    There were some sefardi gedolim after the inquisition, no doubt. And thsy were no less than their Ashkenazi counterparts. But in sheer number, the amount of Torah centers was less, the population was less, and they simply didn’t produce generations the likes of the shach and taz, reb akiva aigers, vilna gaons, noda beyehudas, etc…the hamon am also weren’t as educated towards the end, before the war. Ashkenazim were more successful in maintaining high standards of torah than sefardim. Rav ovadia changed that, and wanted to restore the pride of the Sefardim, who had fallen into a complacency of Sub -par education, which was replete with chunash, kabalah and sipurei tzadikim, but didn’t stress becoming talmidei chachamim.

    #2134604
    lakewhut
    Participant

    UJM not every tzaddik in the old yishuv was grabbing media headlines.

    #2134702
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    “they simply didn’t produce generations the likes of the shach and taz, reb akiva aigers, vilna gaons, noda beyehudas”

    How do you measure this?

    “the hamon am also weren’t as educated towards the end, before the war”

    How do you know?

    “Ashkenazim were more successful in maintaining high standards of torah than sefardim.”

    Do you have data to back this up?

    #2134774
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    yabia – having learned the immeasurable depth of reb akiva aiger and the gaon’s torah, when i compare it with sefardi seforim, i don’t see anything similar, i just don’t. Im sure the gedolim like the ben ish chai, chida, etc…were just as big, but by and large, every other sefer ive seen has been drush or psak halacha, or teshuvos.

    i can measure the stature by the content of the seforim. for example, the words of the rishonim aren’t at face value very complex; we believe in their greatness by mesorah and by what achronim told us about them – but we dont need any mesorah to see the greatness of rav akiva aiger and the like; just reading their words shows you the indescribable greatness of torah that they had. that includes the dibros moshe, chazon ish, reb chaim, and many others. sefardim don’t have seforim like that that i’ve seen – maybe there are, but im not aware.

    re data about sefardim being not very into learning after the war – syians in NY didn’t build yeshivos. they built a mixed day school and fancy ornate shuls. most of them didn’t end up keeping all the mitzvos; many intermarried with fake converts(hence the “edict”) and those that did keep more and learn more, eventually, after rav ovadia set the tone, built up communities like ateret torah, which are on par with the ashkenaz yeshiva world.

    before rav ovadia, a certain gadol told me that the image of a sefardi in america was “eineh vos ken mohl nisht gelernt”

    but the ones who were behind ateret learned in ashkenaz places. to this day most sefardi rabbonim in america learned in the ashkenaz torah bastions like BMG, chaim berlin, and especially mir yeshiva in brooklyn.

    in eretz yisroel, that wasn’t the case; sefardi yeshivos had talmidei chachamim, so much so that when a certain gadol visited porat yosef in the 30’s he said that the bachurim were no different than in mir or kletzk.

    #2134785
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    The “Avira de Arah” (air of EY) is meant to be machkim. Why in your case are you the complete opposite?

    Yo brought no proof or data. You just brought your arrogant opinions. No matter Sefardim get mad at us for our arrogance. edited

    #2134930

    Avira, I think there are 2 things to consider on Sephardi limud:

    1) (generalizing, of course) they indeed tend to go into pilpul like Ashkenazim. Many commentaries include stories. This does not make their limud lower. To the opposite, I often find them addressing the core issues rather than dealing with some complicated borderline relevant issue. This may be akin to difference between Yerushalmi and Bavli, as we discussed before: Yerushalmi is more focused (and looked down at wild Babylonians), while Babylonians developed a complicated – and useful – methodology.

    2) Sephardim did not have haskala. So, when they arrived in 20th century to modern world, they encountered same isues Ashkenazim did 200 years before. Syrians in NY did not do worse than French and Germans in Europe. On the other hand, pretty soon they jumped up on Ashkenazim bandwagon of developed solutions (schools, conservative halakha, shtreimels) and went through the painful process much faster. (same as, l’havdil, Afrikans get wireless internet skipping putting phone cables Europeans did fro 100 years before).

    #2134961
    A Lamdin
    Participant

    avira
    just because sfardim didnt write seforim on lomdis that doesnt mean that they wernt the biggest talmid chochom. Let me tell you something i dont know if you ever learned halacha (the right way i dont mean to open up a mishna brura) bu if you think its so easy to write up a psak halacha well maybe its easy to read, but because he needs it to be so easy to read and to come out with a straightfoward halacha you need to be a lamdin atzum to know how to be mechalik between the slightest chilukim. And you need to know kol hatorah koolah to write up a psak there are times where you need to connect something from 1 random sugya in nashim to choshen mishpat you cant even fathom how much cheshbon they go through.have you ever looked at the halachos of chacham ovadia zatzal do you see how much he quotes in one tshuva. So just because they never wrote sforim on lomdus it doesnt mean they couldntve,either they thought its more keday to write up halachot or wtvr the reason is… but from what i see you wrote you dont know jack about sfardim or what it is to write up halachos.
    secondly this is a very stupid subject because nobody knows if there were hidden tzadikim or tzadikim that never wrote sforim and youll never know they existed so what is the argument about
    third even if you have a count of all the tzadikim who is anyone to rate them you think Hashem has a chart ”Tzadikim rated from 1 to 10”. every person was brought in to this world to do his tafkid and if for one tzadik his job was to write a sefer on this subject or the other or not to write but to learn the whole day or to teach…. you have no right to rate them.

    #2135022
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    A Lamdin: Shkoyach, very good post. I agree. And who says that Tzadik=wrote a sefer?? Who taught you such things Avira?

    #2135060
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Yabia Omer, I am a strong Ashkanazi following the Chasam Sofer but a big advocate of the Yabia Omer having all 12 volumes and Yechaveh Daas 7 volumes. He researches all views when paskening a halacha. I follow his views when it comes to tircha deztiburei, not to put any extra burden by the Shatz or individual on the tzibur.

    #2135175
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Anyone who thinks that lomdus is just chilukim never touched a maaracha of rav akiva eiger. They probably can’t even read a tosfos without getting stuck.

    #2135201
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Meir Einei Chachamim from the Ostroptzer rebbe explains a saying in the gemora in an interesting fashion. It says that one who grabs on to the stringency of the Beis Shamai and the Beis Hillel at the same time, it is written on him, the fool walks in darkness. The gemora questions the the view of the one who follows the view of the Beis Shamai of shevisas kelim, the kelim must rest, how can Shabbos candles be lit? The gemora answers that is mafker the candle lighter. The Beis Hillel’s view is that hefker has to be both for the rich and the poor by having to give up ownership completely. However, according the Beis Shamai when ownership is given up only for the poor then I still can have partial ownership and thereby light the candles but when it is given up for both, how can one light Shabbos candles? When one lights, will reacquire the candle lighter? So the fool will end up not being able to light and be in darkness.

    #2135205
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Avira, maybe they cannot read the tosfas as there Hebrew education is weak. Thank Hashem that you are able to read it.

    #2135219
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Reb e, my education was also very weak – i grew up in modern orthodox fantasy land where nobody knows anything – there’s no excuse. I woke up, picked myself up, and had people teach me learning skills. I spent 2 years in a lower shiur to learn how to make a leining on gemara, tosfos, maharsha, maharam shif. Then i went to a higher shiur where my head was on a rollercoaster ride everyday.

    I’m also not especially smart. Anyone can do what i did. They chose to chase after havlei haolam and not only not care about learning, but deride those who do, and think that because they can name all the kings of the shvatim that they know more than a kollel man.

    #2135221

    Here is some fire for the most ridiculous context of which tzadikim are more tzedek:
    students of Chofetz Chaim were learning Mishna Berura and found a reference to a sefer that was not in the yeshiva. They went to the Rav’s house and asked him to loan them this sefer. Rav did not have it at home, but said someone in another town, just an hour on a train, has it. Students were stunned – Rebbe, you are quoting this sefer and you do not have it at home to learn? Yes, he said, it will cost money and gelt ist tzait and tzait is Toirah…

    To contrast, R Ovadia lived in a small apartment and worked there. People who were in the apartment testified that he does not own numerous books that he is quoting and is doing it frmo memory, without taking the train.

    #2135323
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Avira, with all of our striving we need siyata Dishmaya from Hashem Yisborach. We require His help to be mechaven the emes, Torah aliba dehilchasa. The Midrash Shmuel asks on כל מחלוקת לשם שמים סופו להתקיים, all arguments for a Divine purpose, who wants a machlokes, an argument to stand? He answers that the Beis Shamai because through their opposite view helped the Beis Hilel to arrive to the truth became also praiseworthy. The Beis Hilel, because of their humility, also allowed them to come first to be able to hear another view in order to avoid tunnel vision, seeing only one side of an argument.

    #2135349

    let’s continue with the daf! Nedarim defines rasha/tzaddik in the following way: how responsible is a person with his words. A rasha tends to make nedarim (to motivate himself) – high-stake promises that cause complications, such as when an animal dies, you need to find another. A tzadik does nedava – dedicating a specific animal, and if something happens with it, the nedava is gone. The best way is to take the animals to the doors of BM and do nedava right before entering. No risk of false promises.

    To extrapolate, a tzaddik thinks thru all practical implications of his decisions and talks and acts accordingly. A similar business concept is called “managing risks” rather than embracing it “bravely”
    (aka foolishly). So, if you organize your life and what you do for others in a right way, you are a tzaddik. How do you achieve that is immaterial – if learning tosfos brings you there, shoin. If Ben Ish Hai stories teach you common sense, tov meod.

    #2135350
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Shimon Hamosini, when he found that something is not right, was willing to give up his whole lifetime work around 2600 es-en in the Torah. Arriving to the emes, discovering the truth was most important to him.

    #2135367

    Reb E – exactly. Thanks, I did not know how many es-ens are there… Now, I will have to double-check!

    This really highlights his gadlus. In modern language his theory was 100% correct after 2600 tests and then became 99.96% correct, enough to reject…

    #2135371
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    A צדיק – צפןן, דרום, ימה and קדמה going to all directions and not being a hermit but going all over. Hashem who has everything, why did He create the world? The Midrash compares it to a king with a storeroom of all goods. He says, what should I do with this? I will share it with my servants and the only thing I require from them is to praise me for it. Similarly עולם חסד יבנה Hashem created the world with chesed, favor in mind to share his wealth with us. Therefore, it is our responsibility also to share our knowledge and wealth with others. The other thing the world requires is הכרת הטוב, recognizing the good each provides the other. Hashem personally does not need praise but it encourages continued provision when something given is appreciated. The reference for all of this is the Binah Leitim.

    #2135372
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Repeating from an other topic:

    Look at the Sefer Habris who explains that there are 25 levels of neshama. נפש, רוח, נשמה, חיה, יחידה within each there are 5 levels such as נפש שבנפש, רוח שבנפש וכו. Each has a maximum strength. Once we arrive to the highest level of the current neshama by defeating the yetzer hara, the yetzer hara cannot be stronger but it wants to be. So Hashem gives the person a higher level of neshama. So according to this, being a tzadik or a beneni is relative to one’s neshama. It is the maximum or middle for the current level of the neshama.

    #2135393
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    AAQ, I explained with a Midrash why did Shimon Hamosini not think of the darush of Rav Akiva, to include the talmidei chachamim? It says ?ויאמינו בה’ ובמשה עבדו – אם במשה האמינו בה’ לא כ’ש they believed in Hashem and His servant Moshe, if they believed in Moshe they certainly believed in Hashem? אם כן למה נאמר במשה then why does it say in Moshe as one who believes in talmidei chachamim is like one believing in Hashem It should have said that the belief in Hashem is superfluous not Moshe? Maybe, the strength of Moshe comes from Hashem by his belief in Him, therefore Moshe is superfluous. Similarly for Shimon Hamosini to fear the talmidei chachamim whose strength comes from Hashem was obvious but for Rebbi Akiva who originally hated talmidei chachamim it was not obvious.

    #2135480

    My favorite explanation is that the question is not on R Shimon but on R Akiva – how is he giving an answer that the expert on esim does not? Because he saw integrity of R Shimon worthy comparison w/ Hashem.

    #2135561
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Rav Hillel Kolemai said, לרבות תלמידי חכמים this will increase talmidei chachamim as people will not look down on them.

    #2135594
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    AAQ, thanks, I never heard that one.

    #2135721

    RebE, I am not sure what is the context of people looking down at Talmidei Chachamim. We have lots of maamarim chazal that I see as definitions of a Talmid Chacham: merabim shalom b’olam, do not rebuke him in the morning for the aveira in the evening, etc.

    I don’t think that people who are living these definitions are looked down upon in our communities, unless we are talking about some other societies, but then how would a pasuk interpretation affect them? Maybe the Rav’s idea is similar to Rashi quoting (his father?) R Yitzhak on Bereshis that we can point to the Chumash that EY was meant for us. How is that going to convince non-Jews? one explanation: it is there to strengthen ourselves and then we will be able to convince. Maybe same here this is to strengthen Talmidei Chachamim themselves.

    #2135745
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    It says שלך אי אתה רואה אבל אתה רואה של אחרים ושל גבוה, people don’t see their own faults but see it in others and especially, to elevate themselves, see faults in the holy.

    #2135752
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    I think Fiji and Marshall Island have the most

    #2135763
    ujm
    Participant

    CS: Even combined, those two places don’t have more than the Vatican.

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