Saturday, April 28, 2007

Reb Naftali Ropshitzer On Yichus

Today, 11 Iyar, is the yahrzeit of Reb Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz. He used to speak about the great yichus he had from both sides of his family. He said over the following about the benefits of yichus:
Take a person who's a real tzadik, a great scholar and serves Hashem in every way. He gets up at midnight and cries over the churban for hours, then he immerses himself in the mikva and spends the rest of the night delving into the hidden and revealed parts of Torah. Come daybreak, he goes to shul and davens for hours. After davening he sits and learns more Torah. Finally, close to midday he sits down to eat and gives a heavy sigh and says "am I really serving Hashem with all my ability?" Now, if he comes from simple stock he says "compared to my Father I'm not too bad". However, if his ancestors were great tzadikim he will think of his accomplishments as meager and say "when will I reach the level of my ancestors?"
That says the Ropshitzer is the value of yichus. I believe the reason why he named his sefer Zera Kodesh was because of the great yichus he had, which he used to continuously work on himself, making him into the towering figure that he was. He is still vey much alive through his holy sefer, Zera Kodesh.
See Heichal HaNegina for more on the Ropshitzer.


yitz said...

Nice post, and thanks for the link! Of course, everybody knows that yichus is a double-edged sword. If it's used as you describe here, it's fine. However, it can be used to "rest on one's laurels" in which case, as they say, the best part of one's yichus is buried in the ground!
The Rav of my shul once told us the following mashal [parable]: a wild dog, a mutt, used to roam around the forest, feeling really lousy about himself. Once in his wanderings he saw a dead deer, and decided to take its horns & put them on as a disguise. He then began to search for other interesting items to use. He found a lion's mane, a bearskin, etc. He put them on, too.
The other animals stood in awe of this strange-looking creature, until word reached the King of the Forest, the Lion King [LK]himself.
The LK asked them to bring this strange creature to him, as he wished to meet him. Upon their meeting, the LK asked, "So, who are you?"
"Don't you see, I have deer's horns," came the answer.
But who are YOU?
"Can't you see my bearskin?"
Again: But WHO are YOU?
"Haven't you noticed my mane?"
Finally: "Yeah, but who ARE you, really?"
...[sheepishly]: "a dog...'

So it is with yichus. If you ask someone, "Who are you?" And all he can say is, "So-and-so's son-in-law, nephew, cousin, grandson, etc. but HE HIMSELF hasn't become anything, is he any better than the dog???

A Talmid said...

You are 100% correct. I believe it was also the Ropshitzer who said that yichus is like a lot of zeros. Until you put a one (meaning yourself) in front of it, it is still zero. After you place a 1 there, meaning making something of yourself, it can become a very large number.

Anonymous said...

Its still a great way to use yichus. don't feel bad if u dont have any because we all do. we r all the children of Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov and the probs are great that we each hav many great Rabbis that we come from. very int site

Anonymous said...

This is very interesteing. I'll tell you why. I was once in a shul where the elderly ruv is a survivor of the Nazis yemach shemom and an ainekil from the heilege Ropshitzer and some crude person started saying how he has greater yichus than the ruv. This low life misused his yichis like yitz said and of all people he claimed to have greater yichis then a Ropshitzer ainikil.The Ropshitzr is the one who used to say that no one has greater yichis than himself because he had a great lineage AND he knew how to properly use the yichis. and this michutzif had the audacity to tell people how he had greater yichis than the ruv. Don't swing a sword know how to handle it.