From the Heavens (Me Ha’shamayim)

1994, 48 x 84 (122 x 213cm)

“The precepts of the Lord are right
Delighting the mind
The Mitzvah of the Lord is clear
Giving light to the eyes.”

The tapestry is titled “Me ha’shamayim, ve m’in ha’aretz,” or “From the Heavens unto the Earth.” God is everywhere: in the sky, in the waters, in the earth, in the changing seasons, in our mouths and in our hearts. In this tapestry some of the symbols are overt, while others less so, and still others are purely personal. I hope that the viewer will read your own meanings into the images.

The right hand tapestry, a tallit complete with tzittzit, represents the heavens and is divided into three sections representing the three patriarchs. The words of the Torah literally descend from the heavens, solidifying as they come down to us, transforming from pure energy into pure matter. Or do the words ascend to God on our prayers? The shafts of light split up matter all the way to the bottom, a reference to the universe being a quilt patched together by God. The blue stripes of the tallit are said to represent the blue of the sky as well as the blue of the waters. Here they become a river bestowing God’s blessings.

The tapestry on the left, representing the earth, is divided into four sections recalling the four matriarchs, the four seasons, and the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water). The tree of life, unfolding through the torah, extends from the tree of life carved on the Aron ha Kodesh. It sends out its leaves through the hope of spring, the growth of summer to become flames of autumn, then sparks, and then the stars of the winter sky. This symbolizes our prayers rising to heaven as well as the sparks of the Shekhina that are gathered and returned to the broken vessels of creation through our good deeds (Tikun Olam), helping to heal the Universe. The leaves fly from the tree in several streams, changing in colour and shape as they converge into a single line. From many, one. The dance is eternal and Spirit flows both ways.

While the spindles of the Torah scrolls appear to be on the inside with the parchments flowing away, they are actually on the outside. The two tapestries form the ends of one infinite scroll surrounding our universe, protecting our congregation. We live our lives within the Torah.

Comments are closed.