29th of Cheshvan, November 16, 2009
The psalmist likens the tzaddik to a date palm. “A righteous man will flourish like the date palm, he will grow tall like a cedar in Lebanon (Psalm 92:13).” Date palms do not immediately produce fruit. It takes four to seven years for the date palm to bear fruit, and between seven and ten years to produce a yield adequate for commercial harvest. Likewise, man does not become righteous immediately. To become a tzaddik, man must invest much time and energy before his efforts bear fruit. An even longer time and greater effort is required before the righteous person is productive enough to affect others. In point of fact, a man must choose to be righteous all the days of his life, continually working on his own self-improvement. The psalmist assures us that the efforts of the righteous shall not be in vain for they shall flourish. Ben Hey Hey teaches: “According to the effort, so is the reward (Avot 5:26).” Not only is goodness its own reward, but the pursuit of goodness yields much benefit as well.
Copyright, 2009 Rachel Lerner