web analytics
December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Bezalel’s Legacy Commentary on Jewish Craft and Art: Shabbos Parah: Ki Sisa; Exodus 30:11 – 34:35


Spice Box for Havdalah (1998) by Malka Kohavi
Courtesy Yeshiva University Museum

Spice Box for Havdalah (1998) by Malka Kohavi Courtesy Yeshiva University Museum

Nonetheless, there is much to be learned from our parsha about Jewish Art.  The ideal ethical and spiritual qualities of Jewish Art and Jewish Craft are identical because we hope for equal refinement and intention in our ritual objects and in our art.  We want the best whether the purpose is to worship or study.  Since the Torah knows this, why should it juxtapose the elevated mission of Bezalel with the most grievous sin of the Golden Calf?  There’s the rub.

The warning that Ki Sisa presents is about the nature of objects, ritual objects that we invest with too much meaning, in fact fall in love with and forget the ultimate incorporeal reality of our God.

God Passes By (2006) by Richard McBeeCourtesy Private Collection

God Passes By (2006) by Richard McBee
Courtesy Private Collection

When we doubt the verity of Divine promise and command, we second-guess the existence of our Creator.  And the first thing we make is an alternative ritual object as a way to serve the transcendental God concretely.  Our desire for God to be manifest became an idol in the form of the Golden Calf.  We fashioned it as a way to certainty.  And looking for an assurance of faith, a comfort of that which is substantive, we erred in fact, we sinned.  It becomes Bezalel perverted. It is the sin of the object.

As Rashi tells us (Exodus 31:18), there is no necessary chronology in the Torah, and actually the incident of the Golden Calf preceded the work of the Tabernacle done by Bezalel.  Therefore God’s command to Bezalel can be seen as a response to our deep need for some kind of objective certainty.  God tells us to make ritual objects that will be used to serve Him.  That is permitted.  But when our doubt and fear about the absent God and his servant Moshe provoked the creation of the Golden Calf,God gave us the tools to do teshuvah in the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.  Each attribute is a revelation into the mysterious nature of the unseen God.  Even here Jewish Art can provide insight.  Right before this, Moses boldly asks to see God’s Glory and God places him in a cleft of the rock as He passes by.  My 2006 painting God Passes By captures the moment after the miraculous event.  While Moses could not have survived seeing God’s Glory, a glimpse of His “Back” was sufficient to inspire him for the rest of his life.  Our God demands faith and yet provides us with precious concrete hints as how to serve Him and how to know Him.  Jewish Craft and Jewish Art have a hand in both.

About the Author: Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Bezalel’s Legacy Commentary on Jewish Craft and Art: Shabbos Parah: Ki Sisa; Exodus 30:11 – 34:35

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Cinema City Iron Man Theater in Jerusalem. (illustrative)
US Govt IDs North Korea in Sony Cyber Terror Attack
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

South-Florida-logo

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

South-Florida-logo

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

More Articles from Richard McBee
Jerusalem to Jericho Road: photograph by Chanan Getraide
“Chanan Getraide Photographs”: 2004 exhibition at Hebrew Union College Museum

“We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don’t know it.”

McBee-062014-Outside

He refuses to flinch from our painful history, perhaps finding a kind of solace in the consistency of irrational enmity directed against us.

“Vidduy: The Musical” breaks through the formidable barrier of repetitive confession to allow us to begin to understand what is at the heart of this fundamental religious act.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Silverstein’s work has long concerned itself with the intersection between the personal and Jewish Biblical narrative, significantly explored in this column in “Brighton Beach Bible” (July 27, 2009).

Not surprisingly the guardians of synagogue tradition is male dominated in both Moses Abraham, Cantor and Mohel and Synagogue Lamp Lighters.

Neither helpless victims nor able to escape the killer’s clutches, the leaders had to make impossible choices on a daily basis in a never-ending dance with the devil.

Bradford has opted to fully exploit the diverse possibilities of the physical surface by concentrating on the three-dimensional application of paint (impasto) and other material.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/bezalels-legacy-commentary-on-jewish-craft-and-art-shabbos-parah-ki-sisa-exodus-3011-3435/2013/03/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: