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The verse in Michah (7:8) says:

כִּ֥י נָפַ֖לְתִּי קָ֑מְתִּי כִּֽי־אֵשֵׁ֣ב בַּחֹ֔שֶׁךְ יְהוָ֖ה א֥וֹר לִֽי

As I have fallen, I have risen; as I sit in the darkness, Hashem is a Light to me.

The Orchos Tzaddikim (26:132) quotes "Rabboseinu Zichronam Livracha," without saying where, as saying the following on this verse:

אלמלא שנפלתי לא קמתי אלמלא שישבתי בחושך לא היה אור לי

Had I not fallen, I could not have risen; had I not sat in the darkness, He could not have been a Light for me.

No matter how hard I searched, I could not find a source for this statement. Well, that's not exactly true. I saw it cited in Shir HaShirim Rabbah 6 and Midrash Shocher Tov 22, but, as I learned here, it's a good idea to double-check what source you're sent to. And, in fact, although both sources quote the verse (numerous times, actually), neither actually contains this particular derashah on it. Midrash Tehillim 22:7 contains the same idea, but not those words.

And so, I ask if anyone here has seen this exposition before and, if so, could you please direct me to where it actually is?

  • Could it be that Orchos Tzaddikim is the originator of that formulation? Or is he clear that he is quoting something verbatim? (I don't have it in front of me to check.) – Double AA Aug 17 '16 at 0:12
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    From his lashon of "As Rabboseinu Zichronam Livracham said," it sounds like it came from somewhere. Everywhere else in that piece where he uses that lashon, he actually gives a citation. (Or, at least, the publisher gave the citation.) – DonielF Aug 17 '16 at 0:53
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    You say "Midrash Tehillim 22:7 contains the same idea, but not those words." so it could have come from there, just in his own words. Or is that not plausible? – Double AA Aug 17 '16 at 1:28
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    FWIW the Bar Ilan Responsa Project text of Orchos Tzaddikim cites Midrash Tehillim 22:7. However, that source doesn't have the exact same idea as in Orchos Tzadikkim. Also, see Rabbeinu Yona's Shaarei Teshuva 2:5. – magicker72 Aug 17 '16 at 3:32
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    There are many midrashim (and other sefarim in general) that were lost to us, and the only record we have left of them are the parts that are quoted by other sefarim. This may be the case here. – Menachem Aug 17 '16 at 4:08
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Yalkut Shim'oni Tehilim remez 628 (right top of the page)

וכן הוא אומר אל תשמחי אויבתי לי כי נפלתי קמתי אילולי שנפלתי לא קמתי כי אשב בחושך ה' אור לי אילולי שישבתי בחושך לא היה ה' אור לי. ‏

This is your maamar, the only difference is אילולי at the place of אלמלא.

  • +1. As far as אלמלא, see (Sha'arei T'shuva 2:5, mentioned by @magicker72): ויש על הבוטח בשם להוחיל במעוף צוקתו כי יהיה החושך סבת האורה. כמו שכתוב (מיכה ז:ח)... ואמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה: אלמלא נפלתי לא קמתי אלמלא ישבתי בחושך לא היה אור לי. "The one who trusts in HaShem should hope — in the gloom of his distress — that the darkness will be the cause of the light... 'Had I not fallen, I would not have risen. Had I not dwelt in darkness, it would not have been light for me.'" – Fred Aug 17 '16 at 5:16
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    See also Midrash T'hillim (Shocheir Tov 5:1): "אילולי שישבתי בחשך לא היה אור לי". – Fred Aug 17 '16 at 5:27

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