web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Unconditional Love


Torah Ark Door (back); Egypt, 11th century with later carving and paint; Wood (walnut) with traces of paint and brass; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (64.181) and Yeshiva University Museum (2000.231)

Torah Ark Door (back); Egypt, 11th century with later carving and paint; Wood (walnut) with traces of paint and brass; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (64.181) and Yeshiva University Museum (2000.231)

Falk’s choice of graphic novel techniques, utilizing mostly flat color with little modulation, highly cropped images replete with explicit pictorial symbols unfortunately tends to deplete the poetic potential of the visual medium, trapping the images in an illustrational mode. Paradoxically, in a poem known for its strong female voice, at least some of Falk’s images betray a male gaze, subverting at least one aspect of unconditional love desired.

S. Ansky’s “The Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds: A Dramatic Legend in Four Acts” (1912-1917) presents a radically different prospect. While the tragic tale of two lovers, Channon and Leah, has an infinitely more complex prelude than the figures in Song of Songs, the final consummation of their relationship, the dybbuk (Channon’s soul) fusing with the soul of his beloved, Leah, more importantly results in their mutual death. This form of unconditional love leading to the ultimate “unity and shedding of duality through an act of love” is pure romanticism quite foreign to Judaism’s fervent affirmation of life in this world.

Falk’s four oil paintings from “The Dybbuk” successfully encapsulate the spirit of Ansky’s narrative, depicting the development of Leah’s character as it is affected by the tortured soul of Channon. The last painting shows them soaring over the nighttime village synagogue in a spiritual “resurrection.” The scene in which the dybbuk within Leah verbally attacks the father of her intended groom is a nightmarish evocation of a schizophrenic episode. Equally unnerving is Leah’s tortured reclining on the graves. In each of these images there is more than a little tinge of madness that permeates the drama. Most of all in the first painting: The Dybbuk: Leah and Channon, in which Channon’s first awkward confrontation with Leah from the shadows of the brilliantly lit shul, the haunted red-eyed gaze of Channon convinces us of the impossibility of a love unhinged and driven by totally external dictates (the irrational vows made by their fathers before they were even born). In these images Falk’s lurid color and illustrational style well serves the tragic narrative, driving home (perhaps paradoxically) the perverse consequences of untempered unconditional love.

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 “Unconditional Love”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Broken headstones and monuments in the Mount of Olives cemetery.
Arabs Desecrate Mount of Olives Cemetery Again
Latest Sections Stories
Nimchinsky-102414-Flag

The experience that I was privileged to have this summer was one that was amazing, powerful, and unforgettable. It was a summer of a lifetime. And it’s something that many other groups shared as well. This summer was not exclusive to one group – it was universal. Putting a title on which program was which […]

Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Kupfer-102414

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

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/unconditional-love/2013/11/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: