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The Tzadiq as the Pillar of the World

The Tzadiq (Righteous) serves as a foundation and pillar of the world — Proverbs 10:25 …Tzadiq yesod olam… which may either be read as “the Tzadiq is the foundation of the world” or, alternatively, as “the Tzadiq has an enduring foundation”.  The Tzadiq-ideology developed in the Zohar, prefers the rendering, “the Tzadiq is the foundation (supporting pillar) of the world.” The concept of Tzadiq is introduced in the Torah regarding Noach, when we read in the first verse of Parashat Noach in Seifer Toldot (Genesis) that Noach was an ish tzadiq tamim in his generation – a man who was a perfect Tzadiq in his times. In Genesis 18, Avraham implores HaShem not to annihilate two sin-filled cities for the sake of the Tzadiqim (Righteous) living there.  The dialogue continues until bedrock is reached: It requires 10 Tzadiqim to merit sparing a community from harsh judgement.  The message is clear: when there are no tzadiqim in a community, there is no merit and a gezeirah (edict) of destruction will not be held back.  The Tzadiqim therefore do not only rescue themselves, but also rescue their communities from harsh decrees. The Tzadiq of every generation was viewed as a custodian, advocate,…

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