web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 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
Inside of the home burned in the Prce Tag attack in the village of Duma.
In the Wake of a Lethal Arson Attack
Latest Sections Stories

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.

Singer-Saul-Jay-logo-NEW

Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

Personally I wish that I had a mother like my wife.

What’s the difference between the first and second ten-year-old?

What makes this diary so historically significant is that it is not just the private memoir of Dr. Seidman. Rather, it is a reflection of the suffering of Klal Yisrael at that time.

Rabbi Lau is a world class speaker. When he relates stories, even concentration camp stories, the audience is mesmerized. As we would soon discover, he is in the movie as well.

Each essay, some adapted from lectures Furst prepared for live audiences, begins with several basic questions around a key topic.

For the last several years, four Jewish schools in the Baltimore Jewish community have been expelling students who have not received their vaccinations.

“We can’t wait for session II to begin” said camp director Mrs. Judy Neufeld.

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: