Biblical Subject   |   Biblical Text   |   Artist   |   Word
  Artwork: Water in the wilderness
  Artist: MANDEL, Myra
  Technique: Painting
  Notes: Isaiah 41:17-20. Artist's comment: "The verses that appear in this picture, from Isaiah 41, are preceeded by a description of desperate thirst: “The poor and the needy seek water but there is none, and their tongue is parched by thirst. I, the Lord, will answer them, the God of Israel will not forsake them.” Why are they thirsty, yet hunger is not mentioned? And in which desert will this take place? This unquenched thirst can be understood as a spiritual thirst for the wisdom of Torah, which is referred to as “water of life”, occuring while Israel resides in a spiritual wasteland. As the prophet Amos said: “Not a thirst for water, but to hear the words of God.” God then promises: “I will open rivers upon cliffs and springs in the midst of valleys. I will make the wilderness a lake of water and put springs in a parched land. In the desert I will plant cedar,acacia, myrtle and oil tree. I will place in the Arava fir tree and pine and the box tree all together.” In the picture, an acacia tree spreads its branches over a stream flowing down a cliff in the desert, while on the upper right a myrtle branch in bloom appears. Although the picture depicts the literal meaning of the verses, Rashi interprets the phrase 'open rivers’ to mean opening the hearts of the people to understand Torah. The various types of trees symbolize sources of wisdom, goodness and peace that God will plant in each community to bring knowledge and understanding to the people. The cedar,acacia, fir, pine and the box tree are excellent trees for building. The fragrant branches of myrtle were a symbol of love in ancient Israel. The oil tree provides oil for light, another symbol of Torah. The emphasis on the words “all together” hints that all of these wise teachers, each representing a unique type of wisdom, will be united in the goal to impart knowledge to the people. The last sentence in this description is: “So that they will see and know and consider and understand together, that the hand of God has done this and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Four types of knowledge will be gained: seeing - sensory input, knowing – acknowledging the truth of what one’s eyes have seen, even when this runs counter to our preconceptions, considering – emotionally internalizing the awareness that all events are divinely directed, and understanding – intellectually recognizing the hand of God at work. Here too, the emphasis is on “together” – not only select individuals, not only certain groups – but all of Israel together will see and understand."
  Thumbnail: Do you hold the copyright to the image from which the thumbnail is made? If you want to be credited on this page, please tell me, and I will add the information.
  Subject: Do Not Fear, Israel!

  Hosts: Art From The Well (Myra Mandel)  [IMAGE]