Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yashar (upright) vs Tzadik (righteous)


Malbim (Mishlei 11:3):
There is a distinction between yesharim (uprightness) and tzadikim (righteous). The yashar is one who naturally goes on the upright path – whether it is in religious thought or matters of understanding. That is because the majority of issues concerning yashar involve understanding (binah) or moral traits and deeds that are rooted in wisdom (chochma). Therefore when it comes to matters of wisdom (chochma) the yashar is distinguished from the tzadik in that the yashar naturally has the inclination in his heart to do good because of the uprightness which is implanted in him. In contrast the tzadik's conduct is based upon having learnt what righteous behavior is and constantly practicing it until the tzadik conquers his baser drives and trains himself to do the opposite of his nature. The yashar is simply expressing his nature. Furthermore the yashar is not concerned with the letter of the law but is concerned with the spirit of the law - until he conducts himself beyond that which the law actually requires…. Therefore in order to go in the good path it is needed that 1) his path is yashar and 2) that he is aided in going in that path. … Thus one who is not yashar, his path is not yashara and he needs help from Above to straighten his path. Even though the yashar conducts himself in the manner of uprightness because of his inner nature, nevertheless his physical needs sometimes cause him to deviate from that path. But if he has the additional aspect of temimus (purity) he will be totally consistent in his conduct of uprightness and not deviate from it because of physical needs….

5 comments:

  1. תלמוד בבלי מסכת תענית דף טו עמוד א
    אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק: אף אני אומר: לא הכל לאורה ולא הכל לשמחה, צדיקים - לאורה, וישרים - לשמחה. צדיקים לאורה - דכתיב +תהלים צ"ז+ אור זרע לצדיק, ולישרים שמחה דכתיב - ולישרי לב שמחה. הדרן עלך מאימתי.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    רש"י מסכת תענית דף טו עמוד א
    הכי גרסינן: לא הכל לאורה ולא הכל לשמחה דכתיב אור זרוע לצדיק ולישרי לב שמחה - ישרים לשמחה, דישרים עדיפי מצדיקים.
    הדרן עלך מאימתי.
    מהרש"א חידושי אגדות מסכת תענית דף טו עמוד א
    ולא הכל לשמחה כו'. פרש"י דישרים עדיפי מצדיקים אבל הרשב"א כתב שהישרים היא מדרגה למטה מצדיקים כו' ע"ש וכ"נ מנוסח נשמת שסידרן ישרים צדיקים חסידים קדושים אך מה שכתב הרשב"א בזה שהצדיק שהוא השלם זוכה לאור שהוא עיקר התענוג וכ"ש לשמחה כו' ע"ש בע"י לישנא דלא הכל לשמחה לא משמע כן דדומיא דכל הנך דלעיל ודאי דקאמר ונראה לפרש דאור מונח אתענוג רוחני בעולם הבא ישמחהושמחה מונח אתענוג גופני ולזה אמר אור זרוע לצדיק כי הצדיק זוכה בעוה"ב לאור שהוא תענוג רוחני וקאמר אור זרוע כמו שהזרוע מצמיח ומתגדל כן אור השגת הצדיק מצמיח ומתגדל תמיד כמ"ש צדיקים יושבים ונהנין מזיו השכינה אבל הישרים אינן זוכין לכך רק לשמחה שהיא תענוג גופני משמח לב ישרים:

    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for the reference - however it seems to have nothing to do with the Malbim's assertion that the Yashar has innate (inborn?) understanding which involves no struggle while the tzadik has to constantly battle with himself using his intellect to control himself.

    In fact I haven't found a single commentary which has this understanding - including the Maharal or Ramchal or Gra or Netziv etc. I am curious where the Malbim got this idea.

    ReplyDelete
  3. He probably got it from Koheles (ז; כט) לְבַד רְאֵה זֶה מָצָאתִי אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם יָשָׁר וְהֵמָּה בִקְשׁוּ חִשְּׁבֹנוֹת רַבִּים:
    which explicitly says God created man yashar but he corrupts himself with rationalizations.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

    He probably got it from Koheles (ז; כט) לְבַד רְאֵה זֶה מָצָאתִי אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם יָשָׁר וְהֵמָּה בִקְשׁוּ חִשְּׁבֹנוֹת רַבִּים:
    which explicitly says God created man yashar but he corrupts himself with rationalizations.
    ===================
    That is true - but it doesn't explain why yashar is viewed as superior to tzadik. Most sources seem to view them as synonyms. The Netziv seems to equate yashar with commonsense while he views the tzadik as not seeing or caring about the impact of his actions on society.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Most sources seem to view them as synonyms.Completely disagree or very overstated. See Yomim Noraim Shemoneh Esrei davening. Very obvious differences in clear linguistic nuances.


    The Netziv seems to equate yashar with commonsense while he views the tzadik as not seeing or caring about the impact of his actions on society.This also conforms perfectly to the Malbim's idea that Yashrus is inborn (like common sense is), and Tzidkus is acquired (and therefore obscures one's natural moral instincts).

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