The Tzaddik Can Sweeten Everything In The World
Excerpt of a shiur that Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita, gave after Shabbat, Parshat Re’eh, 5779
They shot 300 arrows at [King] Josiah, and after this they shot 300 spears at him, and another 300 daggers. Why? What was going on with Josiah, that they pierced him with 300 spears, 300 daggers and 300 arrows?
It’s because he was the gilgul (reincarnation) of [King] Ahaz, and [they shot Josiah] because of the avoda zara (idol worship) that Ahaz used to serve.
A person could be the biggest Tzaddik in the world, but if he doesn’t know who the True Tzaddik is, and if he doesn’t submit to him, with total submission – everything that he says to him, he will do it. Stand on your head! Sit on the table! – So, he’ll sit on the table.
(Inasmuch as the Tzaddik of his generation was the Prophet Jeremiah, who told Josiah not to go out to war against the King of Egypt, but Josiah didn’t listen to him, and did go out to war. So then he had to suffer [the punishment] from all the sins that he’d committed in his previous incarnation.)
The Tzaddik can sweeten every single thing in the world.
King Josiah was meant to rectify all the sins of Ahaz.
And so, he found a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) that Ahaz had hidden away. This is a kasha (difficult question). Rashi says that he found a Sefer Torah that Ahaz had concealed. Why didn’t he find a Sefer Torah that [King] Menashe had hidden away?
After all, Menashe was [Josiah’s] grandfather, and Ahaz was the grandfather of his grandfather, so it seems more likely that he would find what was hidden in the generation that was closest to him. Josiah was the son of Amon, and Amon was the son of Menashe.
So, why didn’t he find [the Torah scrolls that Menashe hid away?] Only because Josiah was the gilgul of Ahaz, and he found the Sefer Torah that he himself hid, the same one that Ahaz concealed, even though Menashe also hid away all the Torah scrolls.
Because a man can be the biggest tzaddik in his generation, as Josiah was.
There wasn’t a king like Josiah, who returned his heart to serve Hashem Yitborach so totally. Why did he sin, so that he even needed to ‘return’ [in teshuva] to Hashem? Only because he knew nothing at all about the Torah. For until the age of 18, he hadn’t so much as seen a Sefer Torah.
He rooted out all the idol worship at the age of 18 – but he didn’t get everything. It’s written that at age 18, he burnt the horses that belonged to the “sun’s chariots”. They used to lead horses around, to honor the sun, and he uprooted all this at the age of 18, once he found the Sefer Torah.
A person can’t know what sort of man he was in a previous life.
Maybe, he was Ahaz, who closed down all the synagogues. Maybe he was Lamech? Never, ever be Lamech! I beseech everyone, don’t be Lamech! You are Lamech? No!
[King] Shaul was a reincarnation of Lamech.
To be continued…
 See Midrash Rabba, Eicha, 1:33.
 See Gilgulei Neshamot, Part 1:28: “Ahaz was reincarnated as King Josiah, and was killed in war in order to atone for all his deeds and sins that he’d performed in his previous incarnation. And every revi’it (a biblical measure of liquid) of his blood was considered as another death [sentence he decreed] against him. And this is the secret of ‘The Tzadik (is like) Hashem’…that the Tzadik judges himself.”
 See Rashi’s commentary on Kings II, 22:8.
 See Kings II, 22: “It happened in the 18th year of King Josiah that the king sent Shaphan son of Azaliah son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the Temple of Hashem, saying ‘Go up to Hilkiah The Kohen Gadol’ etc….Hilkiah the Kohen Gadol said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found a Scroll of the Torah in the Temple of Hashem.’ Hilkiah gave the Scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. Shaphan the scribe came to the king and brought a report to the king, and he said: ‘Your servants have counted the money that was found in the Temple, and have given it into the hand of the workmen-in-charge in the Temple of Hashem.’
“Shapan the scribe then told the king, saying: ‘Hilkiah the Kohen has given me a Scroll.’ Shaphan then read it before the king. It happened that when the king heard the words of the Scroll of the Torah, he rent his garments.”
 See Kings II 23:4: “The king then instructed Hilkiah the Kohen Gadol… to remove from the Temple of Hashem all the articles that had been made for the Baal, for the Asherah, and for all the hosts of the heavens. He had them burned outside Jerusalem, in the plains of Kidron, and their ashes carried away to Beth-El.”