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The artwork only you can create

Friday, 29 November, 2019 - 8:02 am

In the spring of 1977, the world renowned artist Yaacov Agam gifted an album with selections of his artwork to the Rebbe in honor of his 75th birthday. The Rebbe sent him a letter of appreciation, commenting on the originality of his art and reflected upon a unique lesson we can learn from the way he inscribed a beautiful dedication in the album jacket with artistic shadow letters.

Letters arranged in words and sentences reveal ideas, but when drawn with shadows the letters become more impressive and pleasing to read.

In life we experience revealed and apparent goodness as well as situations best compared to dark and cold shadows. Instinctively we wish the shadows never existed and only the revealed goodness remained, but this is beyond our control. We can however be the artists who expertly position the shadows in ways that magnify and beautify the goodness in our lives.

In this week’s parsha we learn of the birth of Yitzchok and Rivka’s children. Her pregnancy was extremely painful and when she heard from others that her symptoms were abnormal she approached the prophet Shem to find out what’s going on. Shem notified her she was pregnant with twins and her extreme pain was because the two were constantly bickering inside of her.

Her twins represented two dynasties on opposite sides of the moral spectrum. One would be the standard bearer of monotheism and ethical consciousness while the other would aggressively seek world dominion leaving destruction and despair in its wake. They would constantly engage in a global tug of war for the soul of humanity and their battle begins now.

The knowledge she was carrying twins calmed Rivka despite the fact one was destined for bestiality, because so long as there is a defined separation between right and wrong, it is possible to ensure the right side wins.

Rivka’s pregnancy represents the inner reality of us all. There are times when we are shocked at the type of inner urges we are capable of experiencing and wonder if there is something inherently wrong with our morality. The Torah teaches us that there are two entities within us struggling to control our lives and we are tasked with empowering the good to overcome the evil. That the tamed and selfless moralist should overpower the self obsessed beast.

But rather than destroying our beast we must learn to channel its powerful energy to serve and enhance our ability to do the most good.

This is the task of an expert artist. To position the shadows of aggression and self obsession to serve the brightness and warmth of divinity, morality and selflessness to create the most stunning artwork of life.

You and I are the artists charged with developing our unique art.

Comments on: The artwork only you can create

Bessie Garelik wrote...

B"H. Your artcle is superb. Written clearly and eloquently. A pleasure to read. Keep up the good work.
Your Zeidi and Bobi