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Abraham Journeys Forth into the Uknown

Abraham Journeys Forth into the Uknown

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And the L-rd said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

The journey of the Jewish people begins with Abraham, whose own story begins with a physical and spiritual journey. In the painting, his figure is moving forward into an unknown future. He peers into the surrounding darkness, without knowing where he is headed. A guiding light hangs behind him as he wanders forward, staff in hand, from one situation to another, searching for the place that has yet to be revealed.

The call to leave his home begins with the words "lech lecha". This sometimes is translated as "go to yourself" or "go to your essence". Rashi explains that once Abraham settled into the land, G‑d lifted him to this essence, raising him higher than the stars, beyond the laws of nature and then promised him "so shall be your offspring". In the painting, a golden axis of light shines in the figure of Abraham hinting at this revelation of celestial elevation.

The painting also reflects darkness and constriction. Abraham's journey was filled with tribulations. He was forced by famine to go down to the land of Egypt where his wife Sara was taken to house of Pharoah. This is hinted at in the painting by the suggestion of figures in the shadows. At the end of this difficulty, Abraham emerged from Egypt with treasures. The Sfat Emet explains that all Abraham"s comings and goings were in order to elevate hidden sparks of G‑dliness. In the painting, it looks as if Abraham is digging this physical and spiritual gold out of the very darkness.

Yoram Raanan takes inspiration from living in Israel, where he can fully explore and express his Jewish consciousness. The light, the air, the spirit of the people and the land energize and inspire him. His paintings include modern Jewish expressionism with a wide range of subjects ranging from abstract to landscape, biblical and Judaic.
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