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Jewish Art for the Soul

G‑d has given me a good portion.” (Genesis 30:20)

Leah’s sixth son, Zebulun, embodies the ability to seek and find the gifts embedded within the everyday. Zebulun was a merchant tribe that partnered with the tribe of Issachar to support their study. Zebulun’s role was to enter the marketplace and reveal the sparks of G‑dliness hidden within the materiality of the world. The painting’s view of a port asks us to look beneath the surface of the water to the unexplored world below, to navigate the watery surface of a world that is inherently foreign to us and allow it to offer up its spiritual gifts. And when we have the courage to seek out the sparks of the Divine within our lives, and to support scholarship however we can, we are blessed. The twin boats, Shalom (Peace) and Baruch (Blessed) are ready to carry us and keep us afloat.

The gemstone of Zebulun is a diamond, reflected in this painting in the sparkling clarity of the water and the sky.

A tiny street in Safed, which conveys mysterious atmosphere of hometown of the Kabbalah.

"He shall be like a tree planted by the water..." (Jeremiah 17:8)

G‑d has given me my reward.” (Genesis 30:18)

Leah's fifth son, Issachar, embodies the notion of the reward​ that comes from hard work. The painting takes us to the Jezreel valley in the north, where the quilted landscape shows the lush reward of the pioneers and farmers who labored to transform an arid land into a productive one. The valley unfolds before us like a scroll or a book, mirroring the role of the tribe of Issachar as Israel’s scholars and educators. Through the labor of Torah study, we harvest the richness of G‑d’s wisdom, which provides us with guidance, sustenance and direction, allowing us to see far into the peaceful distance.

The deep blues of the painting reflect Issachar’s gemstone, sapphire, which was also the material from which was carved ​the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, the Divine source of our wisdom and scholarship.

I finished this painting in honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, whose yahrtzeit (anniversary of passing) is today. It is inspired by the song "Ufaratzta - And you shall spread forth" which you can listen to and hear more about here.

Reb Mendel Futerfas, an esteemed elder chassid, was imprisoned in the wastelands of Siberia for 20 years for the crime of spreading Judaism, but his warm humor and fiery faith never faltered. His farbrengens, or Chassidic gatherings, where he mentored younger men with story and song, were legendary.

"I believe with perfect faith that G‑d knows all of man's deeds and thoughts. It is thus written, 'He has molded every heart together, He understands what each one does (Psalm 33:15).'" - Maimonides' Principles of Faith

“This time I will thank G‑d.” (Genesis 29:35)

Judah, Leah’s fourth son, was named for her gratitude. The tribe of Judah, which is the tribe of royalty, embodies the quality of gratitude and humility—the ability to acknowledge one’s wrongdoings, as well as one’s position as a recipient of blessings. The quality of humility is an essential characteristic of a leader who leads from a position of receptivity rather than power. This painting looks down the winding way from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, from an abundant foreground that places us amid grapevines, olive trees and wheat—three of the seven species of the Land of Israel. The spaciousness of the landscape reflects the spaciousness of our own hearts, which are gratefully prepared to acknowledge the bountiful blessings in our lives. And it is with this humility that we access our own leadership qualities and can move forward with strength.

The warm browns of the desert sands of Judah’s land reflect the gemstone of carbuncle (or garnet).

created as a wedding present, this art symbolizes the bond between the husband and wife: together they can withstand any storm life may bring. The leaves are blowing in the wind, but the two hearts are always together.

Text of Psalms 23 painted with a symbolic valley in the background.

A little bit of a mysterious panorama of Jerusalem, which conveys the feeling of a heavenly city.

Creative works exploring life and Judaism composed by a spectrum of Jewish artists.

"The primary talent of an artist is his ability to step away from the externalities of the thing and, disregarding its outer form, gaze into its innerness and perceive its essence, and to be able to convey this in his painting.This is how an artist can serve his Creator." — The Rebbe

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