Jewish and Chassidic Holidays

Chapters visualizing important
Jewish
and Chassidic Holidays

Many of the images in this collection
have been selected from photos
of some of my abstract illusionist paintings
and videoart "converted" גיור כהלכה
and given new Judaic titles and contexts
are a kind of work-in-progress
for a future book or catalogue (if funding is found)
which will attempt to envision the Holidays
as well as sections
of Sefer Yetzira and all of the
53 Parshas of the Torah
 
to act as a springboard for meditation
and finding relevance and advice
regarding our individual life adventure.





Purim


The Mask and the Reality

mask

acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
23 1/2" x 36" (60 x 91 cm)

וְאָנֹכִי הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר פָּנַי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא
"I will doubly conceal My Face that day"
(Deut 31: 18)

When we transgress,
G-d seemingly masks his presence,
such as during the period
of Purim and Esther

  The name אסתר Esther is cognate
with the verb אסתיר I will conceal


We also put upon ourselves a mask
pretending that there is
no consequence to our misdeeds.
Doing repentance תשובה
removes the mask

and we can see face-to-face
that everything is spiritual energy -
the deep secret of the Purim holiday.

 

Turn-arounds - נהפוך הוא

One of the important lessons
of the
Purim story is that events
and experiences get unexpectedly
turned around and what was on top
is now on the bottom with a
completely different perspective


This idea finds visual expression
in many of my paintings
which when turned upside down
reveal a surprisingly new
form and dimension:
the protruding becoming
the recessive and vice versa

            Masculine and Feminine Waters

waters


   The triangular form or vector pointing upward 
represents what is called by the kabbalah 
the "feminine waters" מיין נוקבין
the movement or aspiration from below 
to reach a spiritual height, such as in prayer. 

Turning the painting upside down

waters

With the triangular form or vector
pointing downward
  transforms it to the
"masculine waters" מיין דוכרין
the vector of bringing spiritual energy 
 into the "vessels" of the mundane world.


water

A deeper explanation of above may be
found within
Iggeret HaKodesh
Epistle 28 of the Tanya

         See also the Secret of the Signet Ring


            Other examples at the following link:
          TurnArounds



Rectifying the KUF קוף Monkey

The Hebrew letter which permeates ADAR

     is the KUF קוף
  which means monkey
  or holy "monkeying around"
   such as inducing laughter
during the Purim festivities
as suggested
in the video art below:

video
https://youtu.be/U5XLAwkotzw
The KUF is composed of a RAISH ר
and an elongated ZION ז and
is rather unstable, even "tipsy"
connecting to the requirement
to get spiritually drunk on Purim


חייב איניש לבסומי עד דלא ידע

One must drink to the state of
"beyond knowing
"


which might have been realized in
in the surrealistic video clip below:


purim

https://youtu.be/Qky8oiF4gZo





Parshat Zachur Remembering Amalek - עֲמָלֵק

amalek
acrylics on canvas  26" x 62" - 66 x 158 cm


זָכוֹר אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק

 
בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם
אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ


Remember what Amalek did to you
on your journey from Egypt
.
How they surprised
(cooled you off) on the road.

(Deut 25: 17-18)

Amalek "cooled off"
אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ
the ardour of the Jewish people

after their Delivery from Egypt
causing them to doubt
ספק = עמלק = 240
all the miracles of Divine Providence
.

This section is read in the
Sabbath before Purim
to remind us
of our long-standing metaphysical
battle with Amalek and his
descendents to this very day
with the "beyond knowing" of Purim
being the antidote and tikkun.








Yud Shevat
Yud (the 10th) Shevat (1950)
marks the histalkus or "passing away"
of the Previous Rebbe of the Chabad movement
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson OBM
and the beginning one year later
of the leadership of his successor,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

 2rebbes

         mixed material on canvas 25" x 39"

     
It is remarkable
that according to Sefer Yetzira
      the Hebrew Letter Tzadi(k) צ
    the 18th (Chai) letter of the alphabet
   deeply permeates
   the month of Shevat
   and symbolizes the Zaddik,
the holy spiritual leader.
   It is actually composed of two letters:
  the letter YUD י "injecting" itself
into the back
  of the bent-over "fallen" NUN נ
  (the letter symbolizing
  the Churban - the Destruction)
   to revive and revitalize our lives,
as may be seen in video art below.

zaddik

https://youtu.be/y5ujmCFqOIw

In Chabad teachings
this has special significance
on YUD (the 10th) Shevat,
the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe,
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson OBM
who was the YUD - the Yid
that revived the fallen Jewry
from the Holocaust and prepared us
for the coming of the Moshiach.

The Rebbe would always
make a special chassidic gathering
called Farbrengen commemorating
Yud Shevat and below is a video art
interpretation of this event
that occurred over thirty years ago. 

The special effects 
and evocative narrative track 
attempt to render the vast excitement 
and spiritual energy that was generated 
during this gathering.

rebbe
In three parts on YouTube:

Part One

rebbe01

The relationship of chassid to the Rebbe
and the efficacy of Blessing.
http://youtu.be/Yxl27tcqOCc 


Part Two

rebbe002

A short discourse by the Rebbe
on the Previous Rebbe's teachings.
http://youtu.be/a4mpb-w7bJo


Part Three

rebbe3

 A finale of chassidic nigun or songs
with the Rebbe's active participation.
http://youtu.be/-qzNwx49diQ  






The Lights of Chanukah

light 1light 7light 8

  A Lamp of G-d Is a Man's Soul:


Video Kabbalah Meditations
on the Lights of Chanukah
in eight modules of 4-5 minutes
for a total of 36 minutes.
A video art composition based on
special effects and feedback interface
with the actual burning lights
of the Chanukah menorah
but having an artistic
and universal relevance
not restricted
to the Jewish holiday alone
or a Jewish audience.
Some low definition samples
from the composition (with a sound track)
 are available on YouTube:

The First Light (Binah בינה)
hanuka1
https://youtu.be/YHheFYBfkgU


The Second Light (Chesed חסד) :

ביקדקג

https://youtu.be/dUproMdgLQg




The Fourth Light (Tiferet תפארת) :
hanuka4
https://youtu.be/qDzaV_Ksmu0



The Seventh Light (Yesod יסוד) :

7-hanuka

https://youtu.be/YhBRUoDw980



The Eighth Light (Malchut מלכות) :

8-hanuka
https://youtu.be/fddvOWqNZe4

An important source of inspiration are

Kabbalah teachings

about the "lights", relating them to the Sefirot
or emanations of the soul. 

Each of the modules is constructed
with a special color scheme and visual dance
which correlates to ideas about the specific Sefirot.


Light 8 
Malchut 
Kingdom
ת-נ 
Brown
   Light 7       Yesod 
Foundation
ש-נ 
Green
Light 6 
Hod 
Praise 
נ-ר 
Orange
Light 5 
Netzach 
Victory 
ק-נ 
Purple
Light 4
Tiferet
Beauty 

נ-צ 
Yellow
Light 3
Gevurah
Severity
 
פ-נ 
Red
Light 2 
Chesed 
Kindness
נ-ע
Blue
  Light 1
Bina
Intellect
נ-ס
Infra-Red


"Missing" from the above chart are two Sefirot to make
the classic Etz Chaim model of Ten Sefirot.
The Ninth Sefira is the Shamash or candle
that kindles all the other lights but is not "counted"
representing the more ineffable Chachmah or Wisdom.
The Tenth Sefira represents Keter or Crown
 and is the unseen Light
that hovers over and surrounds
the people celebrating the holiday.


An added input is a meditation
suggested by the great Safad kabbalist
of the 15th century, the Holy Ari (Luria),
which is to visualize in the flames

upon lighting the candles each night
as a marriage or "zivug"
of the letter nun נ in the Shamash,
with each of the last eight letters
of the Hebrew alphabet:
the First Night 
נ-ס Miracle
the Second Night 
נ-ע Move on
and so on until we
reach the Eighth Night ת-נ Give.

All of the eight consecutive
combinations make
(sometimes in reverse order)
a two-letter word in Hebrew
(itself a very rare occurrence).

Somehow these two letter "words"
do mysteriously appear
in the modules and not because
of any premeditation on my part.
Hebrew Explanation -  עברית
HANUKA-HEB.html 




The daily Torah readings for Chanukah
are taken from the offerings of the Princes
of the the Twelve Tribes for the חנוכת המשכן
the dedication
ceremony of the Mishkan
(Numbers 7: 10-88)

The Names of Ten of these Tribes are also
inscribed in the gem stones of the Kho-shen
the Breastplate of the High Priest

12tribes#2

airbrush/acrylic on canvas on 12 mounted canvases:
62" x 48" (158 x 122 cm)

The Names of the Twelve Tribes in the Kho-shen


The Names of Levi and Joseph are replaced

by the Tribes of Efraiyim and Menashe

mikeitz

airbrush / acrylic on canvas
diptych 16” x 32” (40 x 80 cm)









Sukkot

The Hug

hugs

acrylics on canvas
36" x 28" (92 x 71 cm)


One of the most profound Sukkot meditations
is that entering its spiritual space is
to experience being "hugged" by the Shechena,
the Divine Presence.
On Rosh HaShanah we were "back-to-back"
with God, looking in opposite directions.
Our prayers and supplications
  during the following two weeks
caused a mutual turn around
and we could then face each other
and embrace in love and joy.

The Kiss

the kiss
acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
23" x 17" (59 x 44 cm)

The Love increases in intensity
on Hoshanah Rabah
during which one of the Four Species,
the Willow Leaf
which has the shape of a mouth

willow

is an important part of the service
and symbolizes the state of kissing
as expressed in the Song of Songs:
יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth

kisses

acrylics on canvas
30" x 30"  (76 x 76 cm) 

To be "kissed by God"
is to receive a chassidic insight
on the words of the Torah.
This process reaches a climax
on Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah
when Israel and the Shechena
achieve a complete unity.
Check this Link
for more information.





Rosh HaShanah

ram
mixed materials (including shofar) on canvas
23" x 37 1/2" (60 x 95 cm)

The ram that was sacrificed in place of Isaac was
a special creature designated at the time of Creation.
From it was made one horn or shofar that was heard
at Mount Sinai. The second horn will be heard
at the advent of Moshiach (the Messiah).



The Eye of Providence

eye

acrylics on canvas with reflecting marble
33" x 33" (84 x 84 cm)


תָּמִיד עֵינֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ
מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה

"The Eyes of HaShem your G-d are continually upon
(the Land of Israel) from the beginning of the year
until the end of the year" (Deut 11: 12)
The Eyes refers to the special Divine Providence upon
the Land always protecting it and enabling us
to experience this in our daily lives.

The Hebrew word above: מֵרֵשִׁית

(from the beginning)

is missing the letter א in the middle

and not the way

the first word of the Torah: בראשית


(in the beginning) is written:

emphasizing the Hebrew word: ראש
,
Rosh, the Head and of course Rosh HaShana.


Indeed בראשית contains the letters א+ב תשרי

the two days of Rosh HaShana.



נרשדיןד



The word מֵרֵשִׁית suggests the

Hebrew word רש (extremely poor!)

and the Midrash teaches us

that just before Rosh HaShana

we are poor and deficient until

we hear the blast of the Shofar

and then the letter א jumps out

to change the רש to ראש,

giving us a new Rosh or Head

for the coming year

with the expanded consciousness

to truly experience

the Divine Providence in our lives.





Yom Kippur


"Futurist" Kaparot Erev Yom Kippur

kapparot
mixed materials on canvas
30" x 40" (76 x 102 cm)

It is an ancient custom the night before Yom Kippur
to pass a rooster three times over one's head 
as a surrogate sacrifice.


spin 

During this ceremony we should
envision that what is being done
to the rooster should have been done to us
and with God's Grace we are
exonerated on Day of Judgement.


Another More Sardonic Kaparot Version

kap
airbrushed acrylics on canvas
  24" x 18" (61 x 46 cm)



  A Kaparot Meditation
from Old (1967) Resurrected 8mm Films
on YouTube

feet

https://youtu.be/3_EnAuGKFJk





Birthing when Tisha b’Av
occurs on the Sabbath

birthing
Our Sages teach that Mashiach was born
(or will be born) on Tisha b’Av.
(Jerusalem Talmud, Berachos 2:4; Eichah Rabbah 1:51)
As a metaphor we can view the Churban חורבן
(The Destruction of the Temple
and other tragic events in Jewish history)
that occurred on this day
as the “birthpangs” of a pregnant woman
חבלי משיח preceding birth.

לפום צערא אנרא
According to the intensity of the pain,
so is the greatness of the reward,
namely the Ultimate Redemption.

In a practical view, because of the Fast,
this day is a great stimulus for
hastening the birth process
and G-d willing there will be born
many thousands of “potential”
Mashiach candidates this year.

Another possible interpretation
600of above Midrash is that
the Mashiach will be conceived on
the Ninth of Av, which is impossible,
because of the stringent restrictions
on cohabitation, except when
it occurs on the Sabbath.

Then we are enjoined
to celebrate the day
with tremendous joy and simcha,
since all signs of mourning are canceled.
And since it is such a high period,
it is surely an auspicious time
for fertility and conception,
especially if we can direct our thoughts
to elevate the so-called “animal act”
into something more sublime
and even transcendental.
This is what I have tried to convey
in the Visual Amulet for Fertility above
and other works
See link to Kosher Sex





The Three Weeks - בין המצרים

stones
acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
19" x 37" (48 x 94 cm)


Stones on Fire – Transcendental Textures of
the Western Wall and the Flames of L’ag B’omer

From a series of paintings inspired
by extreme close-up views of the
unique texture of the Kotel
or Western (Wailing) Wall
rock surfaces “married” to the
flames from the L’ag B’omer bonfires,
revealing countless visages and faces,
as if the Kotel itself
acts as a spiritual camera
“photographing” its millions of visitors.

Originally created during
the Three Weeks of Mourning
for the Destruction of the Temple
בין המצרים (“between the dire straits”)
and other painful events in Jewish history.
The paintings, however, do not
emanate depression and sadness.
The Stones on Fire here are actually burning
with the spirit of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai,
who was on such an exalted level,
he did not “experience” the Destruction
and hint at the prophecy of Zecharia (2:9):

 וַאֲנִי אֶהְיֶה לָּהּ נְאֻם יְהוָה חוֹמַת אֵשׁ סָבִיב
 וּלְכָבוֹד אֶהְיֶה בְתוֹכָהּ

Thus saith the L-rd: I will be a (protective)
Wall of Fire Around (Jerusalem)
and My Glory will be within it.


My Dove in the Cleft of the Rock – יונתי בחנוי הסלע

dove
 acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
18" x 24" (46 x 61 cm)
 
In  the center of the painting one may see
the form of an angelic Dove, suggesting
the title phrase from the Song of Songs (2:14)
The Dove symbolizes the Jewish people
finding shelter from
its many predators and enemies
by clinging to the Rock of Faith


The Women’s Gallery

women

acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
18" x 24" (46 x 61 cm)

In this painting one can discover
various emerging faces or visages of women,
as if the Wall itself has recorded 
and absorbed its many female visitors, 
whose prayers are always heard,
because they come 
from the innermost recesses of the heart.

Other paintings at LINK




Reflections on Gimmel Tammuz

tammuz

This is the day of the histalkut – passing away
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, OBM. It is also
an extraordinary day in the annals of the Tanach,
for on this day Joshua in the midst of his battle
with the Amorites ordered the Sun to stop in its track
24 hours to facilitate the victory. (Joshua 10:13-14)

וַיַּעֲמֹד הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בַּחֲצִי הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְלֹא-אָץ לָבוֹא כְּיוֹם תָּמִים.
וְלֹא הָיָה כַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, לְפָנָיו וְאַחֲרָיו, לִשְׁמֹעַ יְהוָה, בְּקוֹל אִישׁ

There was never a day before or after,
that G-d (or the Sun) would listen
to the voice of a mere mortal
(at least to the extent of changing
the immutable laws of astronomy)!
We know the miraculous efficacy
of any Zaddik’s prayer and blessing
for health and other needs of his followers
and as attested by the countless encounters
people have had with the Rebbe.
But apparently for this to occur again
on a cosmic scale, like it did with Joshua,
we will have to wait until
the revealed coming of the Moshiach,
who will control the climate and the world
with the utterance of his mouth.
However, since each of us
is a “world in miniature” – עולם קטן,
the private miracles we have experienced
with the Rebbe
can be a hint as to the future.
I and my deceased wife,
Yael Avi-Yonah OBM,
are artists inspired by the Rebbe
and you are invited to see
the samples of our work at

rebbe1.htm
and
 rebbe2.htm







Preparing for Seudat HaMashiach

mashiach

mixed materials on canvas 27" x 20 " (70 x 50 cm)
The Messiah is often represented by the final MEM ם
in the Hebrew alphabet,
which appears WITHIN a word only in the

messianic passage in Isaiah 9:6:
לםרבה המשרה ולשלום אין קץ על כסא דוד ועל ממלכתו
"That the reign may be increased,
and of peace there be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom"


as if it was a a typographic "error".


The final MEM ם looks like a lid on a three-sided BAIT ב.

The Messiah will "put the lid" on the BAIT ב,
which is the first letter of Creation and the Bible,
closing all four sides into a holy cube of infinite revelation.

One of the names of Mashiach is Menachem מנחם
which ends with a final MEM
ם






Crossing the Red Sea - קריעת ים סוף

red sea

acrylics on canvas 10 1/2" x 16" (27 x 40 cm)

The biblical story of the Crossing of the Red Sea
is explained by the Rabbis to be a prophetic
revelation achieved by the entire Israel nation.
The sea, which is the hidden domain, suddenly
became a solid or revealed dimension
without the accompanying contractions and
filtering that this process usually demands.

The "story" also contains the 72 three letter
words of divinity, as revealed by the Zohar
generated by combinning
three consecutive sentences,
each uniquely made up of 72 letters.
(Exodus 14: 19-21)


Birthing

birthing

acrylics on canvas  40" x 40"  (102 x 102 cm)

According to kabbalah sources,
the Crossing of the Red Sea process
is analogous to being born, the water of the
embryo sac bursts and what is revealed
is the solid, the crying child
entering a new and challenging reality.

The embryonic state is likened to the Galut.
פֶּה-לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ
אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יַאֲזִינוּ אַף אֵין יֶש רוּחַ בְּפִיהֶם

They have a mouth but cannot speak.
They have eyes but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear.
They have a nose but cannot smell.
(Psalms 135: 16-17)
The above phrase obviously refers to
the futility of idol worship,
but its inner context relates to
the Galut of the Mind when we are
not realizing our full spiritual potential
because of our worship
of our own ego idol.

Crossing the Red Sea was a necessary
mind-opening precondition
for receiving the Torah at Sinai,
when the Israelites experienced
total synaesthesia:
וְכָל הָעָם רֹאִים אֶת הַקּוֹלֹת
And all the people saw the voices.
(Exodus 14:14)





Pesach - Passover


Voyage into the Matza Interior

p

שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצּוֹת


"Six days you should eat matzas"
(Deut 16: 8)
An extended comparison of the "round"
hand-kneaded matza and the full moon.

Extreme close-ups of the matza texture
turn into a remarkable "lunar"

and even otherworldly landscape
replete with crevices and craggy mountains.

The micro becomes the macro and vice versa.
With a modern music (electronic & flute) track,

which gives it a special ambience.
It even has the sound of the artist
munching noisily on a matza.

Some low definition samples from the video
with a "stream of consciousness"
sound track
are available on YouTube below:



1. Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGJYaEvqr7k

2. Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8qtqroA-90    

3. Part Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTkFUstBLtQ


Press here for more information




The Ten Plagues

An important part in Seder HaGada ceremony
is to interpret and "internalize" the Ten Plagues
and make them relevant to our lives.

The Ten Plagues can be interpreted according
 to the classical Ten Sefirot model in reverse.
Seven Plagues from Parshat Va'eiraוארא 
from Malchut to Chesed
(the modalities of the emotions)
Three from  Parshat Bo - בא
from Bina to Keter.
(the modalities of the intellect and beyond).

The Plagues come to attack and rectify
the bad and evil energies trapped
in the Ten Sefirot of Impurity
by Pharoah in Hebrew פרעה
whose letters can spell הערף
"the back of the neck"
and certainly apply to our own
יצר הרע or evil inclinations,
which is why we are called
"a stiff-necked people"
כִּי עַם קְשֵׁה עֹרֶף אַתָּה
(Exodus 33:3)
still dominated by the
mind sets and mental slavery
of Mitzrayim and the Galut.



The First Plague - Blood  - דָם - Malchut

havangel4
airbrushed acrylics on canvas
30" x 40" (76 x 102 cm)

The belief that Nature
(especially the Nile River)
can be controlled and "engineered"
 embodied the source of the Egyptian
arrogant confidence and security
and was therefore deified
as a power in and of itself
and revered as the very source of life.
The bloody "slaughter" of this concept
opened up the pagan mind
to the presence of a Higher Master.


This arrogance can also apply to those
fine liberal people יפי נפש
who love to imagine they are drinking
from the cool clear intellectual waters
of a creed of humanism without God.
The plague reveals the "bluff"
of what is really behind all this -
their hot blood of anger,
particularly with whoever
disagrees with them.

gif



The Second Plague - Frogs - צְפַרְדֵעַ -  Yesod

havdalah #2

airbrushed acrylics on canvas
17" x 35"  (44 x 89 cm)

The plague of the Frogs attempted to rectify
the fallen sephira of Yesod caused by the
the debauched habits of the Egyptians.
The frogs' cold slimy bodies
covered every inch
of the land and entered their houses
and even the bedrooms,
cooling off their lust and sexual ardour
which was their raison d'etre.



The Third Plague - Lice - כִּנִים -  Hod (Acknowledge)

finger

mixed materials on canvas
40" x 40" (102 x 102 cm)

When the plague of the dust
turning into lice occurred,
all of the magicians acknowledged
that it was the “Finger of G-d”

אצבע אלו-הים
since regular magic can not affect
such small creatures,
whereas Divine Providence
is in every aspect of creation.
The acknowledgement
of God's mastery
is the beginning of spiritual service
and should induce a positive humility
that even if we are like dust before Him,
we are still with Him.
  But for the now ego-deflated Egyptians
the dust turned into lice
causing a deep depression,
  a pseudo humility which sucks out
a person's blood, depriving him
of his vitality and energy-flow
.

 

The Fourth Plague - Mixture of Wild Animals - עָרֹב -  Netzach

havangel6
airbrushed acrylics on canvas
27 1/2" x 36" (79 x 92 cm)


The fourth plague to harass the Egyptians
consisted of hordes of wild animals
and also snakes and scorpions
roving all over the country,
and destroying everything in their path.
That they attacked in a "coordinated" way
like a disciplined army
was a tikun or rectification
to the Egyptian's evil Netzach 
נצח
which attempts to achieve Victory at all costs
by deceitfully "orchestrating" the events.
The Jewish use of Netzach נצח is suggested
in many of the Psalms which begin
with the words: לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר

A prayer by the Conductor Orchestrator

wax11





The Fifth Plague - Pestilence - 
דֶּבֶר -  Tiferet (Mercy)

dever
 
 acrylics on canvas

The fifth plague was a severe epidemic
on the cattle in the field,
but came with a prior warning, showing
the amelioration of judgement with mercy and
the Egyptians who complied were spared.
Only those who did not were punished.
הִנֵּה
יַד י-ה-ו-ה ה-וֹיָה בְּמִקְנְךָ
(Exodus 9:3)
Behold the Hand of God is on your cattle

This is hinted that
the merciful name of
י-ה-ו-ה
was changed to its permutation ה-וֹיָה
which is associated
according to Sefer Yetzira

with the month of Menachem Av,
the month of severe judgement.




The Sixth Plague - Boils -  שְּׁחִין -  Gevurah

dialog48

mixed materials on canvas
24" x 18" (61 x 46 cm)

The plague of boils, unlike the others,
came without a mitigating warning
and applied to all of the Egyptians
wherever they were and
who were made numb from the pain.
indicating a terrible gevurah or severity
from which very few recovered.
That is why we must pray daily to be
protected from debilitating illnesses
which put us into a condition
where we are unable to beg
for salvation.


The Seventh Plague - Hail -  בָּרָד - Chesed

48

polymer emulsions on canvas
  27 1/2" x 19 1/2" (70 x 50 cm)

The plague of Hail בָרָד
was strongly aligned with Chesed since
the Egyptians were given a day's warning

to secure their livestock in shelters beforehand.
Any man or beast left in the open would die.
The Hail was quite miraculous and destructive
in that within the large icy balls
burned a blazing flame,
the normally opposing elements of
Fire and Water now working together. 
וַיְהִי בָרָד וְאֵשׁ מִתְלַקַּחַת בְּתוֹךְ הַבָּרָד

(Exodus 9:34)
Many of the Egyptians followed the warning,
but this was ultimately applied against Israel,
since the surviving horses were used
with Pharoah's chariots to attack the Israelites
at the encounter by the Red Sea.

There is also a lesson for us
with regards to the "selective" destruction
of the plants: only those with strong
unbending stems or trunks were destroyed,
 by contrast what survived
were the supple and flexible
(a trait of tsuvah and repenting).




The Eighth Plague - Locusts - אַרְבֶּה -  Bina

locusts

polymer emulsions on canvas
  27 1/2" x 19 1/2" (70 x 50 cm)


"And the locusts went up
over all the land of Egypt
and they chewed up all the plants"
(Exodus 10: 13-15)
Chewing and processing
our received phenomena
is a kabbalah analogy
to the sephira of Bina -
בינה

This is the ability
of intellectual inquiry:
the approach of the Talmud.
It allows us to explore the universe,
improve our lives and discover
the higher moral calling
of the human family.
Yet the very same power may
serve as a tool to rationalize
every evil practiced
under the face of the sun,
and to justify
every destructive lifestyle or habit.
leaving in its wake a desolate society
"The Wasteland"
bereft of spiritual values
and absolute principles.




The Ninth Plague - Darkness - חֹשֶׁךְ - Chachma

darkness

acrylics on canvas
37" x 37"  (94 x 94 cm)

There was a thick darkness
in all the land of Egypt three days;
they saw not one another,
nor rose any from his place;
but all the children of Israel
had Light in their dwellings.
(Exodus 10: 21-24)

The Light in the Darkness (of the Mind)
is a kabbalah analogy
to the sephira of Chachma- חכמה


This can be understood as the ability
to accept new ideas and concepts
that emerge unexpectedly
from the supra-conscious.
The arrogant Egyptians
(and with them
many "assimilated" Jews)
with their fixed mindsets
could not change
and accept a new input
and thus remained in the darkness.



The Tenth Plague - The First Born - בכורות - Keter

havangel5

airbrushed acrylics on canvas
40" x 30" (102 x 76 cm)

This terrible plague can be understood
within
the basic Biblical context of
"measure for measure" מידה כנגד מידה
(How you mistreat others,
so will be the retribution.)


God declared that "Israel is My first-born"

(Exodus 4:22) בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל
Yet Pharaoh wished to enslave them
 for all eternity, thus it is fitting
that God would punish him by killing
all of Egypt's first-born sons.



After the Tenth Plague
the Israelites were commanded

to celebrate Passover - Pesach
eating the pascal lamb

and the matzas, the unleavened bread
to prepare for delivery from Egypt

וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת הַמַּצּוֹת כִּי בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה
 הוֹצֵאתִי אֶת צִבְאוֹתֵיכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם

And you shall observe the feast
of the unleavened bread
for in this very day
I have brought your hosts
out of the land of Egypt.
(Exodus  12: 17)







Many of the paintings may be available
as prints and giclees, please inquire:

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or
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You or anyone you know who
may be visiting Northern Israel
are invited to our studio/gallery at
Alkabetz 11 (near Kossov synagogue)
  The Old City,Tzfat (Safed) Israel.

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