web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Home » Sections » Arts »

Shapiro’s Midrash


McBee-111111-FrontPg

Finally the primordial staff appears again in Moses and the Rock, a painting of penetrating psychological insight.  Moses, poised in the exact center of the painting, has just thrown the miraculous staff away in desperate terror. The blazing sun above and the orange-hued mountains in the haze of the desert heat all convey the frantic need for water the people must have felt.  The cool green and turquoise water gushing from the barren rock convinces us of the magnitude of the ill-fated miracle.  But it is the gesture and expression on his face that transforms the painting into a narrative of tragic personal failure for Moses.  At this instant he has realized his disastrous mistake. In his anger at the Children of Israel’s hysterical complaints about water he has struck the rock instead of speaking to it to bring forth water, as God had commanded him.  He has just heard God condemn him to death in the desert just outside the Promised Land.  His entire life’s work has been compromised, removing from him the satisfaction of leading his people into the Land.  All because of anger.

This exhibition has revealed a fascinating aspect of Moses’s personality and narrative.  Anger is a natural and necessary human emotion and yet the issue of anger management as it relates to our relationships with others is seldom explored in art or literature.   Here in two significant paintings Shapiro investigates the consequences of Moses’s anger; at the Golden Calf Moses is vindicated only by the severity of the Jewish sin and yet at the rock he has inadvertently failed to sanctify God’s holy name.

Anger is clearly terribly dangerous as the Gemara states in Pesachim 66b: “When a person becomes angry – if he is wise, his wisdom will depart; and if he is a prophet, his prophecy will leave him…” Shapiro has accomplished these insights utilizing the complex interactions between the basic Torah text and the rich descriptions of midrashic literature.  But more importantly, it is the adoption of the midrashic methodology, its mindset of passionate investigation and creative imagination, which pushes these paintings to new heights of narrative insight.

 

 

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

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 “Shapiro’s Midrash”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former PM Ehud Olmert at Tel Aviv District Court hears his sentence on May 13, 2014. (archive)
Ehud Olmert Found Guilty of Fraud in ‘Talansky Affair’
Latest Sections Stories
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

book-To-Fill-The-Sky-With-Stars

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Respler-032715

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

South-Florida-logo

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

“If you don’t stand straight, you’ll never get a husband.”

First, sit down with your helpers and a pen and paper and break the jobs down into small parts.

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/shapiro%e2%80%99s-midrash/2011/11/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: