Pastel & Ink on Paper
Pastel & Ink on Paper

Artist’s Statement: Shalom! I made this drawing during the week of Chanukah, the week of light in which we celebrate the victory of Torah values over the forces of evil. Even if things look difficult we light our candles, and the light grows with one candle on the first night, two on the second night, till we light eight candles on the last night. Rabbi Gavriel and Rebbetzin Rivkah Holtzberg, who were brutally murdered in the Mumbai terror attacks, did not spread light only on Chanukah; they spread light all year round! Let’s honor their legacy by doing more mitzvahs than we currently do.

This drawing shows some of the many mitzvahs the Holtzbergs loved and cherished, and I made it in honor of all the victims in the Mumbai Chabad House.

In the top left corner a man puts on tefillin and takes his son with him to synagogue. A kiddush cup, symbolizing Shabbat, floats next to him and the name Gavriel. Over his head is a verse connected to the name Gavriel (the verse begins and ends with the first and last letters of the name): “I will also praise You with string instruments, even your truth, oh my G‑d: unto You I will sing with the harp, oh You Holy One of Israel.” (Psalms 71:22)

In the middle is an Ark with the letters kaf and tav, (an abbreviation for keter Torah, the Crown of the Torah). Two lions on top to honor the victims Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum and Ben Tzion Chroman.

On the right side of the Ark the Rebbe invites people to do mitzvahs.

The house in the middle is made of Jewish books. To study Jewish subjects is a big mitzvah. It is open on one side and has a nice table in the middle with warm inviting light and good food. The people in this house invite guests and make them comfortable. The wagon of the Baal Shem Tov (above) symbolizes the stories which are told, the books which are read, the stories about Chassidic topics and the Torah thoughts which are shared around the table. The wing on the left belongs to the “good angel” mentioned in the traditional Shabbat song, Shalom Aleichem, which is sung on Friday nights. Near the table are the names of the victims Yocheved Orpaz and Norma (Nechamah) Shvartzblat.

In the bottom half of the drawing several women light Shabbat candles—grandmothers, mothers with their daughters, young girls. In front of them are two challahs to symbolize Shabbat (like the man with his kiddush cup), a coffee pot to symbolize kindness and hospitality, and the name Rivkah. Around them winds the verse related to the name Rivkah, “Tremble and sin not, commune with your own heart on your bed and be still, selah.” (Psalms 4:5)

In the bottom left corner two children put money in a tzeddakah box. I dedicate this drawing to the blessed memory of the victims, and to little Moshe Holtzberg, may he grow up and be a light in Israel.