Seven Blessings

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This is a complicated painting. I awoke excitedly on the morning that preceded the holiday of Shavuos (Tabernacles) and immediately sketched this painting.  That evening would begin the remembrance of the day we “married” G-d.  Every Friday I read Shir Hashirim (the Song of Songs), which was written by King Solomon. It portrays the love affair between the Jewish people and G-d through an allegory of husband and wife. I portrayed my husband and I wrapped in an old yellowed Tallis (prayer shawl), symbolizing an old, but still fresh and young, love.  The sky looks like a Chupah (wedding canopy) with 7 stripes symbolizing the 7 times the bride circles the groom – solidifying the home that they will build together. Throughout the painting, there are recurrent references to the number seven. The 7 “Minim”  – the seven species of produce that are found in the land of Israel – olive trees, date palms, figs, wheat, barley, pomegranate trees, and finally the grapes in my hand as my bouquet. In the “end of days” the 12 tribes will return to the land of Israel – as depicted on the left, the Jews are emerging from the desert, where it appears that there is no hope, but the wellsprings of Moshiach (Messiah) appear. He is blowing the Shofar (rams horn) gathering everyone in. His Tallis is white and bright and new.  In the lower portion of the painting the world has transformed – there will be no more wars, only peace. Even predators will no longer chase their prey, and the lion will lay with sheep. To the right, 7 Brachos (blessings) are symbolized by men playing instruments. Each one plays a different instrument and dresses uniquely in their own style, and yet they all play together in harmony. My husband is handing me a gift of a butterfly – meant to symbolize Techiyas Hamesim (The revival of the dead).

The biblical verse in this painting is  – וארשתיך לי לעולם וארשתיך לי באמונה וידעת את ה –  It means, “I will betroth you to Me forever and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness, justice, kindness, and mercy. I will betroth  you to Me with fidelity, and you shall know HaShem.”  God is saying this to us. (source Hoshea 2:21-22)

Men say this blessing every day when they put on Tefilin. And at the end of days we will return to God and he will accept us. We won’t call him בעלי my husband, my master out of fear. But we will call God אישי, my husband out of love.