Tzadikim, Resha’im & Beinonim.
Adapted from the Ta’amei ha’Minhagim & contributed by Rav Nissim Makor
The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah, discussing the three Books that are open before Hashem on Rosh Hashanah, speaks of the Book of Tzadikim (who are written and sealed immediately for life), the Book of Resha’im (who are written and sealed immediately for death), and the Book of Beinonim (who hang in the balance until Yom-Kipur, when their fate is sealed, depending on whether they earned the necessary merits by then or not.
This Gemara, explains the Tanya, citing R. Oshaya, cannot be referring to regular Tzadikim and Resha’im, as we will find in the forthcoming year many Tzadikim who will die and many Resha’im, who will live. The Tzadik that the Gemara is talking about must therefore be someone who has won his lawsuit in the Heavenly Court (for a variety of reasons that do not necessarily reflect his true title). And by the same token, the Rasha (who may in real terms be a total Tzadik) is so called because, for one of numerous reasons, he came out of the Heavenly Court guilty. Indeed, we find this concept in the Torah, which writes in Ki Seitzei (25:2) “And they shall declare the righteous man righteous and the wicked man wicked”, even though in real terms, either litigant may belong to any of the three above categories.
(Seen from another angle, a Tzadik in this context may well be a not-so-big-Tzadik whose allotted number of years in this world have not yet come to an end (and who will therefore need to have perpetuated many sins to forfeit his remaining time on earth); and by the same token, a Rasha may be a veritable Tzadik, whose allotted time is up [and who will require great merits to extend his stay here]).
Strive to be a Beinoni. Master your Yetzer HaRa and control the impulses .
L’Shana Tova! May You, All of My Brothers and Sisters, be Inscribed and Sealed for another Year of Life… Now and always!
With Torah Blessings
Rabbi Nissim Makor.