Last year, while learning, having fun, and making masterpieces with JGU Art Head Ahuvah Coates in Creative Online Club, we not only were instructed in new artistic techniques, but also delved into the meaning and depth of the Sefiros. The Sefiros are the soul-powers, and ’emotions’ of G-d, through which He sends an infinite ray of light, good, and blessing, daily. Through these Attributes, for example Chesed (loving-kindness), Binah (understanding), Gevurah (discipline and severity), etc., Hashem reveals Himself to us with many different faces in this world. We learned how we can apply the meaning of these Sefiros to our own characters, and how we can emulate Hashem, by facing the world with these varying unique gifts and character traits.
That week was the week of Parshas Chayei Sarah, the major theme being the search for the perfect wife for Yitzchak, the only child of Avraham and Sarah– and how Rivkah (Rebecca) was ultimately selected, guided by Hashem’s hand, to rise as the next matriarch of the Jewish People. When Sarah passed away, the three wondrous blessings that permeated her tent ceased. What were these miracles? 1.) Her Shabbos lamp never was extinguished, but burned from one Shabbos to the next, all week long; 2.) Her abundant Challah was a gift, and it packed in tremendous sustenance. Even a small piece could satisfy and energize a travelling guest for a long time; 3.) The Clouds of the Shechina, G-d’s manifested Presence, constantly hovered over her home. Each miracle corresponds to one of the three trademark mitzvos endowed exclusively to Jewish women: Kindling the Shabbos lights, separating Challah, and upholding the Jewish home, in peace and kedushah.
Rashi teaches on this Parsha, that ‘just as the sun set (alluding to Sarah’s passing), a new one rose (an allusion to Rivkah as her successor).’ Upon Rivkah wedding to Yitzchak, and being welcomed into his mother’s tent, the light and blessings returned, and in this way, Hashem told them that it was truly Rivkah who would carry on the light of Sarah Imeinu.
My painting above, is my depiction of this stirring scene. Please allow me to explain (I hope you took Art Appreciation in school! ;) ):
In the middle stand the tent, and inside, you can see two figures. Dressed in the red robe, with a beard, is Yitzchak, and opposite him, reaching out, stands Rivkah in a light blue robe. Why those colors in particular? Red represents the Sefirah of Gevurah– strength and discipline, of which Yitzchak was a master. And Rivkah, enrobed in a whitish-blue, embodied Chesed. Blue or white is ‘the color’ of Chesed.
Behind Yitzchak is a table, on which a Shabbos oil-lamp sits. This is the Shabbos light that burned unwaveringly. Behind Rivkah is a table that is set with a bowl of dough, and if you look closely, you can spot the piece of separated dough, which is what’s actually called “Challah” right in the Torah.
To the left of the tent, is an outdoor oven, burning the separated Challah, as is custom when we don’t give it to a Kohen (a rather contemporary twist– I actually do not know what the Avos and Imahos did with their separated dough); and above it, is a spirit-like being. My ethereal depiction of the Neshama of Sarah looking down upon her children, a challah-loaf, reminiscent of her giving spirit, nestled in her misty arms. To the right of the tent, are two dancing Shabbos lamps, their fames ascending on high. As the golden sun sets over the holy home, note, the deep purple clouds gathered over the tent. These are the Clouds of Glory, Hashem’s Shechina, making Its place over the Tzadikim. The Sefirah of Malchus, some say, corresponds to a deep purplish hue; and this Sefirah of Kingship (hence the Hebrew word “Malchus”), the collection of every single Divine Attribute and ’emotion’, is what is invested, enlivening, the Shechina. It is how Hashem reveals Himself to us in this lower world.
Wishing you all a Kesivah ve’Chasimo Tovah, and a Shana Tovah U’metuka, and may there only be revealed goodness and blessing for you, and may we all merit to discover the beauty and oneness of our own unique mitzvos.