Rivky Taichman
Creative 2020 / Finalists

Creative Art Piece
Oil on Canvas

Moshe sent the spies to Israel requesting of them to go search and see if there was a tree in the land…

Rashi explains that the tree represents the man that is meritorious for his generation, the Tzaddik.1 The Tzaddik is also one of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. The letter ץ is made up of the Hebrew letters Nun and Yud. The Yud, representing the soul, infusing the final nun, the body.2(As you can see in the painting). The Tzaddik lives his life constantly prioritizing his soul, meaning that he chooses to follow G-d’s will and infuses his body with the souls power.

The Tzaddik’s way of life is our ultimate goal. Although we may never achieve that level, because it’s not within our reach, we can emulate some of his characteristics. If we reach for the moon we can land on the stars.

But what if I don’t necessarily want to be a Tzaddik? What if I want to connect to G-d and do good but there’s a part of me that wants to enjoy physicality. Is that a contradiction?

Picture this- every individual has a file cabinet with three different drawers. Each drawer represents his 3 identities. 1) The Tzaddik – the completely righteous individual who hates bad. 2) The Rasha – who solely follows his desires for physicality 3) The Beinini – who desires physical indulgence yet chooses G-d’s will every time.3

Throughout our day we make choices. We can decide whether to choose good or whatever is more convenient for us. Each moment in our lives represents a file. The files in the drawer move according to the choices we make. We can have a few files in the Tzaddik drawer and a few files in the Rasha drawer. Individuals are not defined by a single file. We are way more complex than that. You may never have the desire to kill another person, it doesn’t even entice you. That file is in the Tzaddik drawer within you. The Tzaddik hates bad4 and in that area so do you.

You have a strong desire to indulge in unnecessary food but you hold yourself back, that file would be placed in the Beinini drawer.

We make choices whether to prioritize our body over our soul or our soul over our body. What infuses what? The Tzaddik lives his life with his soul constantly infusing his body.

We can’t necessarily achieve that level of perfection, however we can emulate that aspect of perfection within the choices that we make. Will you buy a coffee in order to Daven (Pray)? Or will you go on a coffee date instead of Davening? Buying the coffee can be infused by prayer or the coffee can totally consume prayer. Our task is to fill our day with actions which infuse our body with our soul.

The files keep moving but our goal is to move the files into the direction of the Tzaddik drawer. We may never be perfect, our files will constantly be moving around, but we can strive to connect to G-d in the ultimate way in as many areas as possible.

It’s not a coincidence that the letter Tzaddik looks like a tree. A tree grows higher and higher eventually reaching its fullest potential. Once it grows it can bear fruit and others can benefit from it. So too as individuals, when we keep working on ourselves, striving to grow, aiming for the ultimate, infusing our body with our soul, others will benefit from the fruits of our labor.5

We can change the world; it starts with just one choice.

Will you infuse your body with your soul?

1 Bamidbar 13;20
2 Sefer Yetzira
3 Likkutei Amarim Tanya Perek Aleph
4 Maamer Bila Hamaves Hei Menachem Av
5 Likkutei Sichos Vol. VI