Hebrew Letters

The Hebrew Letters: Tzadik

 The Faith of the Righteous One

"The tzadik lives by his faith." The form of the letter tzadik or tzadi, resembles that of the alef more than any other letter. The twenty-two letters of the alef-beit pair into eleven "form mates," the two letters whose forms most closely resemble one another, as taught in Kabbalah. The "mate" of the alef, the Master of the Universe, is the tzadik, "the righteous one," upon whom the world stands, as is said: "The tzadik is the foundation of the world."

The letter tzadik begins the word, tzelem, the Divine "image" in which God created man. In Kabbalah we are taught that the tzadik of tzelem corresponds to the three conscious levels of soul: mind, heart, and action, whereas the two following letters (lamed and mem) of tzelem correspond to the two transcendent levels of the soul, "the living one" (chayah) and "the single one" (yechidah), respectively, as discussed in the letter hei (tzadik in at'bash). These two levels become conscious as two states of faith in the inner awareness of the tzadik: faith in the Transcendent Light of God, the ultimate source of creation, and faith in the very Essence of God, the ultimate source of the revelation of Torah and mitzvot. For this reason the word tzadik (204) equals in gematria two times emunah, "faith" (102). Also in the verse "the tzadik lives in his faith," the letters of the word b'emunato," "in his faith," can be read as "two levels of faith." "Living in one's faith" means experiencing greatest joy in one's service of God, as explained in Tanya.

The word eitz, "tree," created on the third day, equals in gematria tzelem, 160, the "Divine image" in which man was created on the sixth day. "Man is the tree of the field." In Kabbalah, the third day, tiferet ("beauty"), is the origin of the sixth day, yesod ("foundation"). Tiferet and yesod totally integrate in the secret of the "middle line" – "the body and the brit are considered one." In Sefer Yetzirah we are taught that the twelve simple letters of the twenty-two letters of thealef-beit correspond to the twelve months of the year. Also, each month relates in particular to a specific "sense" in the soul. The letter tzadik is the letter of the month of Shevat, whose "sense" is that of "eating." The fifteenth (middle) day of ShevatTu b'Shevat, is the New Year of Trees. (The Rabbinic word for tree, "ilan," equals 91, the union of the two letters alef and tzadik, which is also the union of the two values 26 plus 65 [(2 · 13) plus (5 · 13) = 7 · 13 = 1 plus 2 plus … plus 13 = the "triangle" of 13], the value of the Name Havayah as it is written (yud-hei-vav-hei) and read (alef-dalet-nun-yud).

The "king of trees" is the palm tree, of which is said: "The tzadik like a date palm will flower." The root "to flower" (perach) equals 288, the secret of the 288 fallen sparks, elevated by the service of the tzadik in his Divine consciousness while involved in the act of eating. In all the seemingly mundane activities of the tzadik he "knows" (i.e., contacts, as explained above in the secret of the two previous letters of the alef-beit, the ayin and the pei) God, as is said: "In all your [mundane] ways know Him."

The original spelling of the letter tzadik is tzadi, which means "to hunt." The holy "sense of eating," the "sense" of the letter tzadik, is the ability to hunt in order to redeem and elevate the 288 fallen sparks of the breaking of the vessels, as discussed above. "The tzadik eats to the satisfaction of his soul" is the verse most relevant to the secret of the service of the month of Shevat. The redeemed sparks serve to elevate the consciousness of the soul of the tzadik to ever higher levels of Divine perception.


yud enwedged in the upper right side of a bent-over nun.
The yud faces either upwards or downwards, according to two varied traditions.



  • Conscious power to actualize potential.
  • The lifeforce of Creation "running" towards its source Above.
  • The lifeforce returning – downwards.
  • Form and matter.



  • The nun represents the "Congregation of Israel;" the yud represents the tzadik of the generation.
  • "All your people are tzadikim.



  • The thirty-two pathways of wisdom, the yud, unites with the fifty gates of understanding, the nun.
  • The higher wisdom (yud) and the lower wisdom (nun).
  • The consciousness of Atzilut uniting with the source of wisdom and descending to teach Creation.



tzadik; to hunt; side; in Aramaic: chaos. Tzadi becomes tzadik.



  • Hunting for the fallen, broken vessels of the world of chaos.



  • Hunting for the soul's lost sparks.
  • The lower tzadik – connecting souls.



  • Hunting for God and Divine light.
  • The higher tzadik – revealing and drawing down Divinity into the world.



Ninety; "total consciousness."



  • Total consciousness of worlds.
  • "At the age of ninety one folds over."
  • Seasons.



  • Total consciousness of souls.
  • The age of Sarah at the birth of Isaac.
  • Ninety thousand elders danced before the ark when David brought it up to Jerusalem.



  • Total consciousness of Divinity.
  • Ninety daily "Amens."


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