Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holy Channels

Yosef the 'Upper Tzadik' and Binyamin the 'Lower Tzadik'

A tzadik [perfectly righteous individual] is a person who causes G-d to be revealed in this world.  Generally speaking, there are two possible ways of achieving this goal.  One approach is that the tzadik can act as a holy 'channel' through which Godly revelation is brought into the world from the heavens above.

A second approach is for the tzadik to work with the earth below, transforming the world itself to become open and receptive to Godly revelation from above.

This, says the Zohar [1 153b] is the key distinction between Rochel's two sons Yosef and Binyamin.  Both were tzadikim who brought revelation to the world. But Yosef was the 'upper tzadik' who channeled that revelation from heaven to earth, whereas Binyamin was the 'lower tzadik' who worked to render the earth itself receptive to spirituality.

These spiritual characteristics were also recognizable in their physical lives.  Yosef was the 'provider' of Egypt, who channelled G-d's immense blessings into the world, to feed and sustain millions of people.  Binyamin, on the other hand, is described as a ''grabber' [see v. 27 and Rashi ibid] since his holy task was to ''seize'' hold of the physical world and win it over to the side of holiness.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe vol 25 pp 281-2 and sources cited


Anonymous said...

May we have some explanation on the meaning of this, please Devorah?
Is not "Binyamin's 'siezing hold of the physical world..and to win it over to the side of hliness" not superior in the Chassidic sense, rather than 'lower'?
This sort of leaves me a bit confused. Please explain. Thank you and may your holy work in spreading authentic Judaism continue to bear 'sweet fruit'...Amen.

Devorah said...

Lower is referring to the fact that it is taking place within the [lower] world's physical framework, not that it is a lower kind of service.
Both are just as important, just different modus operandi.