Listening to the Tzaddik saved Am Yisrael in Babylon
Excerpt of a shiur given by Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, in Beer Sheva
When a person sees that other people are talking [negatively] about him, when a person sees that he’s being opposed, then he needs to ask for mercy on behalf of the people who are opposing him.
Because really, he’s getting diamonds. Every nasty comment, it’s another diamond. The more people are opposing you and disagreeing with you, the more diamonds you are getting.
The Tzaddik’s opponents are going to Gehinnom
The Rebbe says, have pity on those opponents who are going to receive Gehinnom (purgatory), because these opponents will not be forgiven! If someone is an opposer, then even when it comes to techiyat Hameitim, the revival of the dead, they still won’t get out of Gehinnom!
So, the Rebbe gave over this whole Torah lesson, about how to request that these types of opposers will make teshuva, because they themselves, they don’t know how to sweeten the Gevurot, (judgments, strictures).
Whoever speaks against the Tzaddik, is actually talking against the Torah. When a person speaks against the Tzaddik, they are talking against the Torah! Because only the Tzaddik is really keeping the Torah [in all its finer details and particulars].
The Tzaddik is the Torah, itself.
Purim was a new Matan Torah
And so on Purim, this was the true, new Matan Torah (giving of the Torah). The Tosfos tell us that when Am Yisrael first received the Torah, they weren’t liable for its punishments, because they were compelled to accept it. They couldn’t say ‘no’.
“I am Hashem, your God!” – [this was said] in 70 languages, and was heard from one end of the world to the other. They couldn’t refuse, when they heard kolot (voices) and thunder-claps across the whole world, and saw fires blazing.
But on Purim, they had a choice. The whole people had converted, everyone had become a christian or a muslim, they’d already lost their emuna (faith), the faith of Am Yisrael. Mordechai came and told them – make teshuva! There’s such a thing as the nation of Israel!
So then they submitted themselves to Mordechai, and in the merit of this [today] we still have a nation of Israel.
Only the Tzaddik could remind them that Am Yisrael still exists
Because they said that there is no Am Yisrael. Nothing remains! They’d already gone to Ahashverosh’s banquet, they’d already married non-Jewish wives, they’d already forgotten that there was such a thing as the nation of Israel. It had been 70 years, already – that’s three generations.
So only the Tzaddik could remind them that there is such a thing as Am Yisrael! You are still Jews!
And this is the matter of Purim, which comes to remind everyone that they are Jews, because they were already saying that they weren’t Jews, anymore. So suddenly, we see that a number of decrees were made against them, as Hitler did, so Mordechai said to them: “You are Jews, and you will stay Jews! It’s not going to help you, even if you do convert” because Haman and Hitler were from the same aspect.
He also didn’t give the Jews the option of converting to Christianity or Islam.
Only by way of the Tzaddik did Am Yisrael return to their roots, and those who oppose the Tzaddik will never get out of Gehinnom, not even at the time of techiyat hameitim!
We need to ask for mercy for them, and that’s all. That Hashem should illuminate their eyes, and that they should stop opposing, and this is the whole matter of Purim, that we should only believe in the Tzaddik – and that we shouldn’t let anybody else scare us.