The worst generation of all time
Excerpt of a recent talk Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, gave in Kiryat Sefer
Rashbi – Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai – spent 13 years in a pit. He was in the pit. And all this was in order to atone for the pit that Yosef HaTzaddik had been thrown into. It was Shimon’s doing – Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was the soul of Shimon ben Yaakov, and he needed to atone for what he said to the brothers:
“So now, come and let us kill him, and throw him into one of the pits.” (Parshat Vayeishev 37:20)
“Let us kill him” – this was said by Shimon to Levi.
It wasn’t enough that Yosef disappeared, Shimon also disappeared. The brothers said it’s not OK, he’s going to come in a little while. [Yosef said to them] bring Binyamin. On the contrary, if you want to see Shimon again, bring Binyamin.
What’s going on here, some sort of shuk (market place)? What’s going on here? The Carmel Market? We got lost in the Carmel Market? We got lost in Mahane Yehuda?
If you want Shimon, come and bring Binyamin! If you want a kilo of tomatoes, come and bring a kilo of cucumbers! What are they saying?! …
What’s going on here? What is this, [that Reuven can say to Yaakov he can kill Reuven’s children if he doesn’t return Binyamin to his father]? The children are yours, and the children aren’t mine?! So Yehuda came and said: “I will personally guarantee him; from my own hand you can demand him”. Only Yehuda really talked about what was really going on.
This is the tzaddik, who is the guarantor!
He’s the guarantor for everyone, he’s the guarantor that people will live lives of kedusha (holiness), pure lives. Yehuda was the true tzaddik who achieved such a level of kedusha, which is the purpose of kedusha, and there is no other [level of] kedusha after this. None!
There can be no other kedusha after this, it just can’t be.
So the Rebbe [Rebbe Nachman] got to these [levels], which is the whole purpose of kedusha, and he can sanctify everyone else, even though this generation is worse than the generation of the flood.
[This generation is worse than] the people of Sdom, worse than the people of Sdom. “Listen to the word of Hashem, the leaders of Sdom. Listen to the Torah of God, people of Amorra.” (Isaiah 1:10) So this is worse than Amorra, worse than Sdom.
Today, we’ve got to a generation that is the worst generation of all time.