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Jewish Art for the Soul

The Festival of Unleavened Cakes you shall keep; seven days you shall eat unleavened cakes which I have commanded you, at the appointed meeting time of the month of spring, for in the month of spring you went out of Egypt. (Exodus 34:18Torah reading for Shabbat Passover)

This diptych (painting on two panels), glowing with golden light, depicts two of the holiday's most poignant images—both symbols of faith. The festival is referred as "chag ha-matzot", the festival of the matzah, but is also called Passover, because G‑d "passed over" the houses of the Israelites which were marked by the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. "Pesach" is also the name of the Passover offering—the lamb that was sacrificed in the Holy Temple.

In the painting, the abstract depiction of the matza (on the left panel) looks flat and simple, reflecting the Torah's description of matzah as "poor man's bread"—a reflection of humility and self-effacement (as opposed to chametz, leaven, which becomes inflated as it rises—a symbol of egotism). The simple lines and movement were achieved by painting with hands and fingers moving quickly on the canvas— letting go of thinking and logic. In the Zohar, matzah is called "the bread of faith". Faith implies a commitment to go beyond the grasp of our intellectual and rational capacity to follow the urging of the inner recesses of our being. The Hebrew word for faith is emuna, which shares the same root as oman (artist). Faith is considered the highest power of the soul, beyond the reach of the rational mind.

On the other panel a child holds a lamb as his father and grandfather look on. The ancient Egyptians worshipped lambs. Taking a lamb, the Egyptians' deity, into their homes for four days, with the intention of slaughtering and eating it, was an act of courage and faith. This side of the canvas is more labored and complex as the artist was searching to find and bring out the figures. It also reflects the generations that brought the "Pesach" offering to the Temple. Even though we do not yet have the Third Holy Temple, every year we place a symbol, the shankbone, on our Seder table as we tell and retell our story

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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