It seems that many will admit, that in theory, the potential for human creativity is very broad. I say, in theory, because , although it might seem to the multitudes, even, that human creativity is extremely broad; that when they think of this subject, the breadth of human creativity, comes to their mind a multitude of inventions in endless forms and contexts; thus all would answer: human creativity is nearly limitless. Nevertheless, very few of these people, when THEY, THEMSELVES, will dedicate themselves to creative activity, will find before themselves broad vistas; rather, otherwise; most people who are involved in “creative” pastimes, find themselves facing endless ‘creative blocks’, obstacles, getting stuck, etc. until the unblocking of creative channels has become a profession in itself, etc. as is well known. Therefore, in the realm of day to day reality, the potential for human creativity actually seems quite restricted.
All the more so when is added the factor of ‘actual human progress’ from all the multitude of creativity and invention in history; how much has mankind benefited, actually? For creativity that does not make a better world cannot really be called creativity in the full sense, rather destruction that comes about through creativity. True creativity, in my definition, is that which truly adds positively to the human condition.
I wish to postulate that, actually, the potential for human creativity is nearly limitless, and in any case, it is much, much more than people imagine. The reason that people do not know of this is because almost everyone is completely ignorant of the ways to access this creative potential. Unfortunately, most toil away their lives searching for creative solutions and for solutions towards enabling creative possibilities in the wrong ways, in ways that bear very little if any real fruit. And even those that do toil in the correct way, nevertheless, many do not know how to extract much of their creative potential from their efforts.
The only place that one can labor which will unleash his true creative potential is to labor in serving the Blessed Creator, in learning His Torah and performing His mitzvoth. Only the mitzvoth of the Holy Torah have the ability to open the true positive creative energy of a person. Nothing else can help. And with this toil, in Torah and mitzvoth, one must pray a great deal, all the days of his life, in order that he merit to open up the creative channels which his occupation in Hashem’s mitzvoth have prepared for him.
What is it about Torah and Mitzvoth which holds the key of creative potential? There are several verses in Mishle (see 10:27, 14:27, 19:23) in which Shlomo HaMelech, a”h, extols the quality of fear of Hashem as that which “adds life”, “gives life”, “is the source of life.” Life, in these contexts, is to be understood as the open flow of divine wisdom and vitality, life in the true sense, of connection to the Source of Life, blessed is He. Only fear of Hashem alone has this ability to increase the quality of life, in contrast to fear of any- and everything besides Hashem, which has the opposite quality, of shortening, weakening and reducing the quality of life.
Fear of Hashem is the essential prerequisite to the flow of positive creative powers, for, ironically perhaps, there can be no creativity without boundary and constriction, and fear is the attribute of constriction. When one restricts and binds oneself and submits oneself to all the boundaries and restrictions of the Holy Torah, he creates of himself a vessel to receive divine light. The greater one’s fear of Hashem, Yisborach, the more that one adheres to the strictures of the Torah, the stronger and more sublime is the vessel that he makes of himself, and the greater is the divine light which he can contain and radiate. For all vessels are only created by setting clear boundaries to ones thoughts and actions, by contracting one’s understanding and removing the excess until only the truth remains. This is Fear of Hashem which gives life.
Without the prerequisite fear of Hashem, a human remains formless and cannot contain any benefit that he may be given. Those who mistakenly understand that freedom consists of living without boundary, where all is permitted, are unable to retain any wisdom that comes their way. If there is no cup to contain the wine, the wine only spills to waste.
The potential for true beneficial human creativity is nearly limitless, as said above; yet only through the way mentioned above. Fortunate is he who understands and implements this.
דרש רבא מאי דכתיב “אל גנת אגוז ירדתי לראות באבי הנחל וגו'” למה נמשלו ת”ח
לאגוז לומר לך מה אגוז זה אף על פי שמלוכלך בטיט ובצואה אין מה שבתוכו נמאס אף תלמיד חכם אף על פי שסרח אין תורתו נמאסת
(תלמוד בבלי מסכת חגיגה דף טו עמוד ב)
Rava explicated: what is the meaning of the verse (Shir HaShirim 6:11); I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley…Why is a Torah Scholar compared to a nut? To say to you: what of this nut, even though it is dirty with mud and excrement,[nevertheless]
that what is inside is not [made] disgusting, thus a Torah Scholar, even though he become a heretic his Torah is not made disgusting. (Talmud Bavli Tractate Hagigah 15b)
Oil on canvas
ציור שמן על קנבס
60 cm. x 70 cm.