Contact Us

A Treasure Box of Creativity

A Treasure Box of Creativity

 Email

When you’re in a rush, everything goes slower. It was one of those evenings when I was rushing—rushing to get the little ones to sleep, rushing to clean and tidy up before my client comes. Ten minutes to go,I felt my chest tighten and my heart sink into my stomach and as I washed the dishes (in a rush, of course), I noticed that my feet were wet.

The pipe under the sink had come out of its socket. I felt my chest tighten and my heart sink into my stomach. There goes my rush! My very first thought was: “NO!! I can’t believe this! What a mess! I just can’t deal with this!” I pushed that thought to the side, drawing from my treasure box of creativity, from an internal strength that cries out to me: “Take the mess and do something with it.”

I grabbed the squeegee sponge and used the mess as an opportunity to clean my already dirty kitchen floors. My chest relaxed, my shoulders dropped. My growl turned into a soft grin. I finished mopping, my floors sparkling clean from the dishwashing water. A knock at the door. My client arrived.


The summer. Oh, the long, hot summer! The days that never seem to end. The sweltering heat that keeps us inside. The children at home for way too many hours. They keep asking for popsicles, and we already ran out. They’re bored. I’m overwhelmed. How many mothers out there really look forward to the summer? I should, but I’m going to be honest, I don’t. It’s so long. It’s so hot. “I can’t.”

I look at my children. They’re so sweet and precious.

“Elana,” I tell myself. “Push the thought of ‘I can’t’ to the side. Take this special time that you have with your children and do something with it.” I look around and take a deep breath. I close my eyes and draw from my treasure box of creativity. I grab a mattress and place it on the floor. “This will be our trampoline.” I start making popcorn and get out the laundry basket to throw balls inside. I have the kids cut out “tickets,” telling them that our home is now a carnival.


In our family I have, thank G‑d, one daughter and the rest (so far) are boys. I’m telling you, each one has such incredible strengths and talents. One thing that I’m always amazed by though is my daughter’s treasure box of creativity. She takes a piece of paper and can turn it into a game. She finds a scrap of material and turns it into a purse. She invents camp activities for her brothers. It’s beautiful this treasure box of creativity.

I ask myself: “Where does she get her treasure box of creativity? The ability to turn the “I can’t” into something beautiful?” I’ll tell you where she gets it from; she gets it from a power within, a power G‑d gave to us all. It’s in the very way G‑d made our body, which houses the potential to create and nurture life. Not all of us see it or tap into it, but it’s there.


Yes, women have a unique gift (really, men have it too), the potential to take anything—even when it appears to be nothing—and turn it into something. As the sages teach (Ketubot 63), while “a man may bring home wheat, it is the woman who makes the flour and bread,” and while “a man may bring home the flax, it is the woman who makes it into linen clothing.” Some have it more, some have it less, but everyone has this unique gift—a treasure box of creativity that converts the “I can’t” into something beautiful. We have such potential! We even have the potential to see the potential.


It is written that before the Nation of Israel would enter into Israel they wanted to send 12 men to “spy out” the land. They had already been promised conquest, and a land flowing with milk and honey, butThey created fear and panic among the nation they still sent out spies. The spies came back with huge, luscious fruit. Ten of the dozen raised their voices in fear and created panic among the nation. These 10 men saw the inhabitants as giants, and they felt as tiny as bugs. Even though G‑d promised them that they would conquer the land, and that it would a luscious land flowing with milk and honey, they couldn’t imagine such a conquest. They couldn’t see more than what was in front of them.

The rest of the men raised their voices, weeping in anguish. The only words they could utter was “We can’t!” G‑d heard their crying and said: “You wept for no reason, and I shall set [this day] for you as a time of weeping throughout the generations (Ta’anis 29b).”

This day of “I can’t” became the darkest, most difficult day in Jewish history: Tisha B’Av. The “I can’t” is the day of destruction.

Do you know what the women of the generation of the desert did when the spies came back? They didn’t cry. In fact, they were probably thinking: “Wow, what great fruit! That would make a great fruit salad, fruit pie, juice smoothie!” These women, they were creative. They believed in G‑d’s promise. They felt such a strong love for and a desire to enter into the holy Land of Israel that they must have said to themselves: “With G‑d’s help, we’ll be creative, and we will conquer the land. We will take all that G‑d gives us and make something beautiful out of it. They saw the potential and knew that with G‑d’s help and some creativity, they could actualize that potential.

Our sages teach us (Sotah 11b) that “in the merit of the righteous women, our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt.” And so, too, in the merit of the righteous women, we will be redeemed once again.

How? By tapping into our treasure box of creativity, into an internal strength that G‑d plants within all of us that says: “Take this challenge and do something with it!”

Originally from northern California and a Stanford University graduate, Elana Mizrahi now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. She is a doula, massage therapist, writer, and author of Dancing Through Life, a book for Jewish women. She also teaches Jewish marriage classes for brides.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining
Related Topics