Posts Tagged ‘kiddush cup’

The Seventh Blessing: For Life & Love

September 25, 2013

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The Seven Blessings, or Sheva Brachot are a lovely old tradition, each one recited under the Chuppah (Marriage Canopy) by chosen friends and family at Jewish weddings. The Seven Blessings begin with the blessing over wine (‘pri hagofen’) followed by praise and gratitude to the Source of Life for our creation, for our existence and for our ability to thrive through time. They also address the binding of the couple, wishing them a life of love, joy, peace and friendship from the Biblical perspective; that their union should mirror the happiness of the first couple in the Garden of Eden. Finally, the couple is made aware that as they rejoice in each other, their union will also bring joy to the world . Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan suggests that Jewish weddings reflect the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai symbolizing the wedding of Heaven and Earth.

For the eleventh blessing in my book, An Illumination Of Blessings, I initially attempted to work all seven blessings into the illustration, however after further research and several iterations, I came to the conclusion that the seventh blessing really encompasses the other six and is therefore essential. This idea was suggested by an interpretation in Kabbalah which explains how each of the seven blessings corresponds to seven of the sefirot, or the energies that are the foundation of Creation.

Although there are actually ten sefirot, the interpretation posits that the three remaining sefirot do not correspond to their own blessings because two of them, Keter (Crown representing ethereal consciousness) and Chokhmah (representing Wisdom) are contained in the sefirah of Binah (Understanding) and the last one, Malkhut receives all of those above and before it. The Hebrew language in the Seventh Blessing also contains ten words or synonyms for happiness, peace and friendship, all of which lead to joy. In this sense, it corresponds to all ten sefirot as well as the ten phrases by which the world was created and the Ten Commandments given at Mt. Sinai. These ideas prompted me to place the letter Bet (for Binah) in the space above the Chuppah for these values must guide all that we do. The commentary at the end of the book will provide explanations of the symbols that appear in the illustration.

Shown above is the finished illumination for the Seven Blessings and below is one of the iterations.

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As always, your comments and questions are welcome.

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Kickstarter Update #4: An Illumination Of Blessings: Sabbath

July 3, 2013

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Dear Backers and Backers-To-Be:

Wow, with 64% funding and three days to go, I am really getting into the rhythm of An Illumination Of Blessings! Yesterday and today I’ve been working on this new illustration; the blessing recited when lighting the Sabbath candles. At this rate, I feel confident that the book will be done on schedule if not before!

Here you can see a woman (who could be any age) blessing the two candles she has lit to usher in the Sabbath, the twenty-four hour period of rest from sundown to sunset that is a central tenet of the Jewish faith for it mirrors the completion of Creation and defines a place in our lives in which we can cease our week’s efforts, open our senses to those things that we rush past during the week and achieve a sense of accomplishment for when we resume our activities afterwards.

On her lace tablecloth is a kiddush cup filled with wine and two challahs that have been baked fresh for the Sabbath. Blessings for these items appear in this book as well. The spirit figure in the background represents the Shekhinah, or the feminine aspect of our Creator whom we welcome into our homes for this brief time each week. I will be sharing additional thoughts on these images in the book’s commentary.

As always, your questions and comments are welcome!

To those of you that kindly and generously pledged your support to bring me to this point in my campaign, I thank you unreservedly. To those of you who are on the wire trying to decide if this is worth your investment, worry  no more. You’ve spent plenty of money on all kinds of stuff, but what can you count among your possessions to prove you’ve taken a journey through my imagination? I mean, how many artists devoted to high quality spiritual art can you call yourself a patron of? Here’s the link, hop to it!!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1330347473/an-illumination-of-blessings

Update #3: An Illumination Of Blessings-Havdalah

July 2, 2013

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Dear Backers & Backers-To-Be:

We’re just about down to the wire: 57% funded and 4 days until midnight of July 6th when funding closes for An Illumination Of Blessings! So if you haven’t decided to become part of this unique effort, please take a few moments to consider doing so and by all means spread the work to anyone you know who would also like to contribute.

I promise that you will not be disappointed when you receive your postcards, prints and copy or copies of this beautiful art book. Like every work of art I make, it does not leave my studio unless I am entirely satisfied that I have done my best to bring it to life.

This week I’ve completed a new blessing for the book; it is called Ceremony Of The Senses and presents the Havdalah ceremony, performed at the conclusion of the Sabbath. The book will include a detailed commentary about the imagery I’ve chosen. As always, your comments and questions are welcome and I look forward to being able to share An Illumination Of Blessings as a personal legacy to you for generations to come.

Here is the link for you to enter your pledge and to forward to all you think would want to participate.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1330347473/an-illumination-of-blessings

Thanks in advance!

Ilene