Welcoming the new moon, the month of SHEVAT/שבט, comes with a correlation with a Hebrew letter.

Just so you can visualize the TZADI, [here] is a very simplified version and here is a more elaborate articulation of it.

It's connected with concepts of foundation.

There's a verse from Psalms that says, TZADIK YESOD OLAM, the literal translation of which is "the righteous one is the foundation of the world."

Sometimes that's interpreted homiletically as "righteousness is the foundation of the world."

We have the word TZEDEK and TZEDAKAH/ charity, righteousness-in-action.

But I want to invite us to read that verse TZADIK YESOD OLAM as the TZADI/צ, this letter is the foundation of the world in physical manifestation and OLAM in the sense of time, in the temporal manifestation, and in the sense of soul.

That TZADI/צ stands for TZOMEACH/צוֹמֵחַ, the things that are sprouting.

In the middle of the month that's coming, Tu Bishvat is the New Year for the Trees, the birthday of the trees.

The seed we are, planting that intention for the year to come, involves a type of decay and a type of letting go.

In the beautiful, delicious, deep, fertile, protective dark there's something we need to really say TZEI/צֵא to. "Go!" Go out. We need to let go and release.

YETZIAT MITZRAYIM, the going out. YETZIAH has that TZADI/צ sound in it, of going out, of letting go.

Think for a minute what it is you really want to let go of. Not in a "trash it and forget it" way but in a composting kind of way. Really surrender to the earth, surrender to the past, to let go in a posture of forgiveness, to allow whatever has happened but no longer contains vital force for you to rot, and to turn to soil, and turn to foundation, to turn to YESOD/יסוד, to return to a base of support.

And at the same time, the TZADI/צ represents what you're going towards. We have the word MITZVAH/מצוה, right? "Commandment." What commands your attention?

We have this beautiful word for "descendants," for either physical children who actually come from us, or the progeny of our projects, of the energy we project into the world and the word is TZE'ETZA'EI/צֶאֱצָאֵי. It's like a proliferation of TZADIs. It's all of these sparks. The word NITZOTZ/נִיצוֹץ is a spark.

And what is MATZMIACH KEREN YESHUAH, what is sprouting towards revelation? How is G!d-as-Nature flourishing in creative, sparkling possibility?

Taking that TZADI/צ "tzspark" with you, really finding your root, your personal aliveness, to validate deeply within what you know it's time to let go of in order to feed the earth and give grounding and foundation to the year of blessing that's coming.

To really be with these concepts.

shir feit


Shir Yaakov is Kol Hai's founder and spiritual director.