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"The Way of G-d"

Part 2: “Divine Providence”
Chapter 3: “Personal Providence”

Paragraph 8 (Part 2)

If we're all different from each other, obviously then the righteous are different from each other, too. (We tend to lump them together into one huge spiritual cliche.)

It's the righteous people whom we're close to, who are more like us than the others, who are able to carry us along in their spiritual wake, as we said. It's they who bear some of our burden for us and become our mentors in the World to Come.

Certain loftier-yet righteous people are responsible for more yet. They bear the burden of their entire generation, and endure trials and tribulations as a consequence.

But some most righteous individuals bear an even greater responsibility. They're to play a vital role in the great and ultimate redemption, and thus bear the burden of the lot of us. They're obviously of the highest caliber.

In fact, no less than the great and holy Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (author of the Holy Zohar) once matter-of-factly said, "I'm capable of exempting the entire world from judgment from the day I was born until today; my son Eliezer and I together (could exempt it) from the time of creation until today; and the two of us along with Yotam Ben Uzziah (could exempt the world from judgment) from the time of creation to the very end of days" (Sukkah 45b).

Because they're able to, such holy souls bear the brunt of the human experience so that the rest of us can go on, stumbling as we do. And their woes substitute for humanity's own. It's much like the situation at the time of the destruction of the ancient Holy Temple in Israel. Our sages tell us that the world itself deserved to be destroyed then, but that G-d decided to destroy the Holy Temple instead. Holy as it was, it would suffer the world's woes instead because it could (and also because it would ultimately be rebuilt).

These most holy individuals will prove to be all of Israel's "mentor" in the World to Come.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel, and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.

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