Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Parashat Ha'azinu #1 - Enlarged Letter Tzadi (צ)


This week's Torah portion (read at Minchah prayers Shabbat Rosh Ha-Shanah) may or may not have an enlarged letter Tzadi (צ) which can be found in Devarim/Deuteronomy 32:4. The word הַצּוּר Ha-tzur, The rock, which may contain this enlarged letter, is referring to G@d.

I say a Torah may have this letter enlarged because those scribes who practice Kabbalah in particular areas of the world write this way. If the scribe is not a mystic, then he doesn't enlarge this letter.

This feature helps identify a scroll's origins. For example, a Torah written in Germany would never boast this enlarged Tzadi, but one from Poland or Russia could very well have it.

הַצּוּר תָּמִים פָּעֳלוֹ, כִּי כָל-דְּרָכָיו מִשְׁפָּט: אֵל אֱמוּנָה וְאֵין עָוֶל, צַדִּיק וְיָשָׁר הוּא.
The Rock, His work is perfect, because all His ways are justice; a G@d of confident faith and without iniquity, just and right is He.

Why is this letter Tzadi, in צּוּר tzur, sometimes enlarged?
What does the letter Tzadi (צ) look like? It's a pictogram! Tzadi comes to us in the shape of a Mystic bent in humble prayer, arms extended and hands raised. According to our tradition, the only time of the year we take this position is during the Aleynu prayer in the musaf, early afternoon service, on Yom Kipur.

The name צַדִּי Tzadi grows from the same root in Hebrew as צְדָקָה tzedaqah, which is often referred to as "charity". To give tzedaqah (or tsedakah) is to donate money, in the mundane sense of the expression, or to give of your time, resources, etc in the general sense. But the root of the word, Tzadi-Dalet-Quf, has a broader attitude.

The consonants צ–ד–ק, Tz-D-Q, mean the following:
To be right, just, or correct; fairness; to have integrity. So from this we learn that to perform an act of charity is to do an act of justice. To make something right. To be kind. Balance.

Look at the verse: at the end it says tzadiq ve-yashar hu, just and right is He. G@d is a Tzadiq. The Tzadiq. The Source of upright, perfect, righteousness. Fully present in every moment, whose consciousness includes the totality of All. Everything G@d does is appropriate, correct, and for the best.
Midrash on this holy symbol tell us that Tzadi was the first letter formed by The Holy One, for "Deeds of giving are the foundation of the world." Tzedeq, "justice".

Tzadi is here enlarged to remind us that G@d our Rock, tzur, is a tzadiq we can rely on always. With His total Divine consciousness of all souls, containing the Universe in which we live, we know we can entrust Him with anything, that our faith invested only in the One G@d is safe. The gematria of tzadiq is 204, which is double the gematria of the word emunah, faith - 102.

The form of the letter Tzadi is made up of a letter Yud (י) activating a letter Nun (נ). The Nun symbolizes Am Yisra'el, the Nation of Israel, where the Yud represents this tzadiq, G@d, our leader and guide.

The letter Tzadi also begins the word צלם, tzelem, which means image or shadow. This is the Divine, transcendent "image" in which G@d created humankind. This shows us that we can emulate and thereby draw closer to G@d, aiming to be that tzur of a tzadiq.

The letter Tzadi also has a gematria of 90, which teaches us that if we lead such high, holy lives as to take the opportunity to say "ameyn" ninety times per day, it can provide that structure on which we can build our own integral lives, supported by Ha-Shem.

Copyright © A.Barclay

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