Korach's hole in the ground

In every generation, there are 36 (and some say 72….) hidden tzaddikim.

These are known as the ‘lamed vav’ tzaddikim, and Hashem created the whole world, and continues to sustain it, in the merit of these holy tzaddikim.

And they exist in every generation.

Even ours.


Just what’s the problem?

The problem is that for the last 200 years….400 years….1000 years….2000 years…. the Jewish world has been flooded with fakers and impostors, people who want to ‘lead’ because they have massive egos, and they want the money and power that comes along with having a ‘position’.

Rebbe Nachman explains that really, these people are not to blame for their actions on some level, because they are crazy people with a lust for power.

Interestingly, Rabbenu says that the real fault lies with THE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW these false leaders, and accord them honor and influence etc.

For a very long time, this puzzled me tremendously.

But now, I think I’m perhaps starting to understand it a little.


It boils down to this:

We seek out people to follow who actually reflect ourselves, and our own opinions, and our own desires and ‘world-view’.

Angry, judgemental people who have a grudge against others (which is basically just a grudge against Hashem, and how He’s choosing to run the world) – they will gravitate to angry, judgemental ‘leaders’ who turn ‘being angry’ into the biggest mitzvah in the world.

Self-indulgent people, who don’t want to hear about overcoming their own negative desires and lusts will gravitate towards ‘leaders’ who have a heter for everything.

And who minimise working to overcome bad middot, etc, because hey, we’re all just human beings here, bub!

Arrogant people with ‘scientific-atheist’ tendencies will look for ‘leaders’ who reverberate in the same small echo chamber they occupy.


And people who don’t want to take responsibility for their own lives, their own decisions, their own relationship with Hashem – they will look for ‘strong leaders’ who dictate and control every aspect of their lives.

And who demand ‘blind obedience’.

And who silence any questions and any challenges…. (often, literally, by using force, blackmail or threats.)

Clearly, these types of ‘leaders’ aren’t nice, good people.

But just as clearly – we actually follow the type of ‘leader’ we want, usually based on considerations that most people aren’t even aware of, because they don’t spend regular time every day trying to ‘dig in’ to their own psyche, to understand their real motivations, fears, expectations and issues.


So yes, the world is full of ‘fake leaders’ and ‘false messiahs’ of every stripe.

And the less a person is following ‘truth’ – wherever it leads them – the more they will be subject to thinking that these false leaders are ‘real tzaddikim’.

It’s an ongoing massive test.

And once I realised that really, these people are just seeking out ‘mirrors’ of themselves, I stopped arguing with people over ‘Trump being the good in Edom’, and I stopped (mostly….) arguing with people who are following obvious fakers – because the problem is not the ‘false leader’ they are following.

The problem is them, and the lies they like to keep telling themselves.


Here’s what Rebbe Nachman says, (from ‘His Wisdom’ – the English translation of Sichot HaRan, 126):

Regarding the messianic age, it is written:

“And it will be that he who is left in Zion, and he who remains in Jerusalem, ‘holy’ shall be said to him.” (Isaiah 4:3.)

The Talmud teaches that the angels will chant ‘holy, holy, holy’ before the Tzaddikim, just as they do before God. (Bava Batra 75b.)

This means just what it says. 

The Tzaddikim who remain faithful before the coming of the Moshiach will deserve this, and much more – so difficult will it be to remain firm in faith and not be misled by everyone’s mistaken beliefs in the pre-Messianic era.


At that time, there will be many fake religious leaders.

A group such as ours [referring Rebbe Nachman’s own talmidim], in which people gather together thirsting for God’s word, certainly will no longer exist.

There will remain some truly religious individuals, but they will be very widely scattered.

The Rebbe than quoted the verse:

“Write this as a record in a book.” (Exodus 17:14).

In days to come, let people know that there was one who predicted this.

They will know and be encouraged in their faith in God and the true tzaddikim.


Know: There are still 36 TRUE TZADDIKIM in the world!

(And some say, 72.)

And it’s our job to work on ourselves enough, and to vanquish the lies we tell ourselves enough, to start to be able to figure out who those people might actually be.


In ‘Tzaddik’ (the English translation of Chayei Moharan) 605, it says this:

“The Rebbe said:

“Even if you aren’t a good Jew, following a Tzaddik is still very good.

This is what R Shimon [ben Natanel] meant when he said: ‘Don’t be wicked all by yourself.” (Pirkei Avot 2:13)

In other words, even if you are wicked, God forbid, ‘don’t be wicked all by yourself’  – you too should try to get closer to the Tzaddik, so that at least tehre will be some hope for you in the end.”


We’re at the stage where more and more of us are realising that ‘fake rabbis’ and false leaders of all stripes are really a thing.

In the Jewish world, in the orthodox reality, that means that for many people, the test is now switching to the ‘test of Korach’ – i.e. the test of continuing to believe in true Tzaddikim, and the test of understanding that God wants us to be close to the true Tzaddikim – at least 36 of them! – that He put into the world to help and guide us.

This is not about ‘blindly’ following some ‘cult leader’, God forbid.

But it is about asking God to show us what is true, and what isn’t – and then trusting Hashem to do that and guide us to the right ideas and the right people.


Xtianity (and its many derivatives that popped up in ‘chassidic’ thought) teaches that THE TRUE TZADDIK does all the work for us.

We just go and polish buttons, and we’re ‘saved’ automatically.

This isn’t yiddishkeit.

Anyone who sat ‘polishing buttons’ in Egypt instead of following Moshe Rabbenu out into the wilderness died in the plague of darkness.


But here’s the thing:

Anyone who refused to accept that Moshe Rabbenu was THE TRUE TZADDIK, and thought he was just some charismatic cult-leader who wasn’t encouraging people to think for themselves, with all his Torah laws and brand-new regulations – those people also died.

It stands to reason, that people like this also didn’t follow Moshe Rabbenu out into the desert in the first place, because how could you trust anyone who tells you something so obviously irrational?!?!?

I mean, the guy stuttered…. and he was married to the daughter of the biggest idolater in the whole world…. and he ran away from the authorities….

Only a gormless, brainwashed retard would follow someone like that out into the desert.



But that’s not where the test ended.

Even after all the miracles, the manna, the splitting of the sea – people were continually muttering against Moshe Rabbenu, and challenging his leadership.

The classic example was Korach.

Who needs all this TRUE TZADDIK, stuff Moshe?! You are just aggrandising yourself at the expense of everyone else, collecting tithes for your own personal use…

Every Jew is a ‘tzaddik’ – a true tzaddik! So who needs you, and all your rules and diktats, Moshe Rabbenu?!

You are just trying to turn us all into a cult….


Korach was very persuasive.

And all of the people he ‘persuaded’ got swallowed alive by the earth and also didn’t make it to the promised land, Eretz Yisrael.

Yeah, sure, they passed ‘Stage 1’ of geula, and they got out of Egypt, and they understood the world is full of ‘false leaders’ and big lies.

But they didn’t pass Stage 2 – the test of Korach, where they still understood there were 36 True Tzaddikim in every generation, and a TRUE TZADDIK hidden away in every generation, who they had to search for and get close to.

As it was then, so it is now.


Let’s end with some more Rabbenu.

In Sichos HaRan (translated into English as ‘Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom’, by the Breslov Research Institute), Rebbe Nachman tells us the following:

“It’s written about the time of Moshiach (Job 38:13): ‘To grasp the ends of the earth and shake the wicked from it’.

However, one who comes close to a true Tzaddik, [he] can grab hold of him, and not be cast off.

When we hold on to the Tzaddik, we can stay firm.”


Personally, I am seeing a MASSIVE difference between those people who are really working on their emuna, emunat tzaddikim, and staying close to Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, and sheltering under the Rav’s wing – and everyone else.

People are still going through so many tests and hardships, but there is absolutely no talk of ‘suicide’ or ending it all or anything like that.

Nothing even close to that.

There is still a lot of joy, even amongst the tears, and a lot of hope, even amongst all the worry and fear.

And the source of that is Rabbenu’s teachings, and the Rav’s gentle support via his shiurim and prayers.


Rebbe Nachman also teaches this:

In Sefer HaMiddot (Tzaddik, #151),  he writes:


Next, he explains (Tzaddik #152):



There are 36 True Tzaddikim (and some say 72…) even in our lowly generation.

And the big test now is to avoid the ‘test of Korach’, swallow our own pride and arrogance – and to go and seek them out.


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3 replies
  1. moshe parry
    moshe parry says:

    the words to describe the shakranim and imposters is that they want the kavod and the prestige that goes along with being a leader in klal yisroel… truth.out…

  2. moshe parry
    moshe parry says:

    and if ur talking about rav kahane as this so called angry leader who is negative and doesn’t want to work on himself then u are being a mechutsanit…

    rabbi kahane was an ish emes and served in the role of a navi (without actual nevuah)… read the nevuot of yermiyahu and yeshiyahu and u will see the same anger and musar messages that rav meir was delivering in his lifetime… in fact he quoted just these books of tnach in his fiery sermons… he gave over the harsh and bitter truth to try and wake up comatose jews in order to save thembeforeit was too late and he did so becausehe loved them…

    so if you call him an angry jew with bad midos then u are calling all the neviim the very same thing… u have absolutely no understanding of the depth of torah rav meir had… because if u did u would not take such a swipe at him as u just did above or you would go to har menuchos and beg for forgiveness from him at his kever…

    u just don’t get it and you’re probably never going to get it… do tshuvah… truth.out…

    • Shimshon
      Shimshon says:

      Why the need to project? Who named or characterized anyone, but YOU? You ARE angry, or YOU wouldn’t project your feelings onto others.


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