Tsadhe is the eighteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Tsadhe (also written as “Tsade” or “Tsadde” or “Tzadi” or “Tzadee”) has the same sound as “tz” as in “nuts”. Every line in Psalm 119:137-144 starts with this letter. Tsadhe looks like this:
The left side of the letter “tsadhe” represents a humble and faithful servant bent in submission. On the right is a hand lifted up to God. Put those two things together and you have a righteous person. The word “tsadhe” means “righteous one”. Only the humble are truly righteous.
Let’s review the last few letters we have studied.
- The letter samech – represents safeguarding and closure
- The letter ayin — represents sight
- The letter pe — represents speech
Then, after these three letters, comes the letter צ (tsadhe). This cluster of letters tells a story. A person, who safeguards and protects his eyes from evil things and protects his mouth and speech from saying bad things, will be a tsadhe, a righteous individual.
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were intent on becoming “tsadik” — disciples of righteousness, by doing “tsadakah” — acts of righteousness. Jesus had a few words to say about that.
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
The highest form of righteous acts are those done in secret. Can you imagine having a trumpeter play “Reveille” every time you put your offering in the plate? That would get annoying.
It’s hard to be righteous.
Trying to sustain righteousness on our own doesn’t work.
“All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)
(“Filthy rags” is most accurately translated as “menstrual cloths”.)
Thankfully, we have a Righteous Savior
who not only forgives our filthiness,
but also imputes His righteousness onto us.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
(2 Cor. 5:21)
That’s righteous good news.
Next: My favorite word in the Bible that starts with “T”.