Rashi comments that as long as Yaakov Avinu lived in Beer Sheva, he constituted its hod, glory, ziv, splendor, and hadar, beauty. Once he left the community, these qualities left with him – a phenomenon that occurs whenever a tzaddik, righteous man, of repute leaves a circle of people. His influence, which consists of these three qualities, departs with him. We must add that every individual tzaddik has his own unique form of these qualities. Thus, even though Yitzchak Avinu and Rivkah Imeinu remained, their form of these qualities left a different impact on those around them. Theirs was a community blessed with three tzaddikim. When one left, his particular brand left with him.
Horav Moshe Feinstein, zl, explains the difference between these three qualities and the interplay between them. The tzaddik is required to possess all three to be truly effective in influencing those around him. Hod, glory, refers to such radiance that can be transmitted from one person to another – specifically from rebbe to talmid, student. When Hashem instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to transfer his leadership of Klal Yisrael to Yehoshua, he was told, V’nasata mei’hodecha alav; “And you shall give of your glory upon him” (Bamidbar 27:20). Ziv, splendor, refers to a quality that emanates from within a person and shines forth. The shine of the sun is ziv ha’shemesh. Last, hadar, beauty, is reference to intrinsic, inherent beauty in an object similar to the beauty of an esrog. It is indisputably beautiful.
The Rosh Yeshivah explains why all three of these qualities should be inherent in a tzaddik if he is to inspire those in his immediate – and far-reaching – proximity effectively. Hod bespeaks the tzaddik’s ability to interpret and explain the halachah and aggada, ethical renderings of the Talmud and Midrash, in such a manner that they continue to impact the rebbe’s/tzaddik’s lessons even when he is no longer present. Thus, in a sense, hod is different from ziv, which constrains the student from veering off the derech, path of Torah life, only as long as the rebbe is available to “shine” for him. In the rebbe’s absence, however, the student must fend for himself, being open to the blandishments of society and his personal evil inclination, without the support of the rebbe’s “splendor.” This is when glory becomes an important factor, by transforming the student into a koach, power, unto himself, founded through the inspiration and support of his rebbe’s glory. We observe this in Yehoshua, whose face shone by itself, albeit like the light of the moon, as compared with his Rebbe, Moshe, whose countenance shone like the light of the sun.
Ziv, splendor, demands that the tzaddik’s greatness must radiate outwards in such a manner that all who see him want to be like him, to emulate his ways. This phenomenon will occur even without any outreach effort on his part. Simply due to his extraordinary splendor, people will be moved to be in some way like him. While hod requires effort on the part of the tzaddik to reach out and leave a lasting impression, ziv is a splendor of such distinction that it requires nothing other than a sense of being on the part of the tzaddik.
Last is hadar, beauty, which demands that the tzaddik maintain a presence and demeanor of such flawless rectitude that he is considered beautiful, in the sense that he is without blemish. He must reflect perfection in all his ways, such that he practices what he preaches. When people look at him, he is like a beautiful esrog. People choose the very best and finest available esrog. If there is a shortage of esrogim, and the only one that is available is not nearly as hadar as last year’s esrogim, it is still considered beautiful. We judge beauty commensurate with its availability. In other words, we are well aware that in past years, we have been able to obtain esrogim of finer, more aesthetic quality and beauty, but this year this is what we have. It is then rendered to be beautiful. If, however, one sees no flaws in what is a second-rate esrog, then it is not beautiful. In this instance, beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder, but rather, in its true image – which in this case does not truly live up to accepted standard. Likewise, we do not expect Torah giants of our generation to be on the same level as the ones who lived a century earlier. To refuse to confront the reality of a descent in the generations, however, is to accept a flaw as beautiful and to undermine true greatness. In other words: the giant of our generation is our Moshe, but unquestionably, unfathomable spiritual distance exists between the two “Moshes.”