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Holzman’s Torah For The Eyes

Deut 34:4 (2007), digital woodcut by David Holzman. Courtesy the artist.

Deut 34:4 (2007), digital woodcut by David Holzman. Courtesy the artist.

L 19:3 (2007), digital woodcut by David Holzman. Courtesy the artist.

An equally offhand but insightful image is from Leviticus 19:3 “Every man shall revere his mother and his father and you shall observe My Sabbaths – I am Hashem, your God.” Here the one commanded seems happily in agreement, a blissful smile radiating across his face. But the image of mother and father is wonderfully complicated by the Shabbos table and the two Shabbos lights burning between them. Now of course the deeper meaning in the juxtaposition emerges in that we must honor our parents as long as they don’t cause us to desecrate Shabbos, because their honor is dependent upon the honor of Hashem and His Shabbos is paramount. Holzman’s image keeps both aspects of the verse firmly before us.

David Holzman is a highly unusual artist. While he has taught art most of his career and has extensive experience as a book artist and printmaker specializing in complex narrative works, his seminal contribution to Jewish art is a deeply idiosyncratic and insightful encounter with the Torah text. From this handful of images it is clear that there is much more to be gleaned from his “Torah For the Eyes.” I can’t wait for the next installment.

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


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