The Tree of Life - we see its images everywhere in art, literature and music. It is a motif that bridges almost all religions and cultures and is particularly prevalent in Judaic art. The Hebrew term Etz Chaim, literally “tree of life”, is a common one in Jewish life.
"It is a tree of life for those who hold fast to it. Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace."
With its branches reaching upwards, its trunk on the ground and its roots below, the tree of life can be a mystical symbol linking heaven, earth and the underworld. It symbolizes a fresh start in life, positive energy, good health, growth, strength and a bright future. It can also represent immortality; even as a tree grows old it bears seeds that contain its very essence and in this way, the tree becomes immortal.
The first reference to the tree of life in Jewish texts comes from the Book of Genesis regarding the Garden of Eden. It is distinct from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were driven out of the Garden of Eden. Remaining in the garden, however, was the tree of life.
During the Middle Ages the tree of life became a major symbol in the tradition of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, where it represents the ten sephitot, or divine emanations. It is considered to be a map of the universe and the psyche, the order of the creation of the cosmos, and a path to spiritual enlightenment.
People really resonate with this image and I have always loved including the Tree in so many of my pieces: Tzedakah boxes, Mezuzot, Menorahs, Yahrzeits and Awards and more. www.beames.com