Kabbalah is the various teachings dealing with Jewish mysticism, its prime source being the Sefer HaZohar, the Book of Splendor, based on the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who lived in the Second Century. The common translation of the word Kabbalah is “receiving”, implying that the teachings were originally and are still best transmitted from master to disciple. Another interesting variant meaning from the same Hebrew root word K-B-L קבל and its first appearance in the Torah refers to the parallel loops “maKBiLot haloola-ot” מקבילת הללאת on the edges of the curtains in the Mishkan (Exodus 26:5)
and which mystical teachings interpret to “find parallels” or analogues
between the dimensions of
SPACE, TIME and SOUL
Kabbalah and Art may seem to be contradictory, because of Judaism’s long iconoclastic tradition, the only “art” seemingly tolerated being the artisanship of ritual objects, such as candelabra and spice boxes. However, the text of Zohar, is very stimulating visually, always enjoining the reader “to come and see” (as opposed to the Talmud, which states “it was heard“) and can help the artist who studies it seriously to attain an expansive consciousness for creating inspired work.
In the dialogue relating to healing, art and Judaism, it is helpful to have the perspective that “illness”, particularly the whole range of mental disorders, even normal tension, is the result of a “constricted” consciousness, which is called in the Kabbalah: MiTZRayim – the Hebrew name for Egypt, connected to words with the Hebrew root M-TZ-R מצר meaning straits and constriction. It is interesting to note that the suffix “ayim” in the word Mitzrayim מצרים connates a doubling effect, as if to imply a “constriction within a constriction”. That is to say a person who is (perhaps happily and) completely unaware of his constricted view of life. The responsibility of the healer is to help deliver his patient from his mental “Egypt” to achieve a new and expansive vision of his life and mission. The constricted mundane consciousness is often described in the Kabbalah as the Elo-kim א-ל-ה-י-ם mode, a world ruled only by natural and rational laws. Expansive consciousness is the Yod-Kay-Vav-Kay י-ה-ו-ה mode, which implies the Past, the Present and the Future, together and simultaneously, and is the essence of the Jewish religious faith. This mode name is so holy that we substitute in a secular context just the word: HaShem: The Name.
The above approach, especially in the areas of the rejuvenation of prayer and holiday observance and verbal oriented meditation, is commonly practiced in many synagogues and havurot. Our innovation is its implementation in the visual arts.
There is a saying: “You are what you eat”. We would change it to:
“You are what you hang up on your walls”.
Certainly, the quality and direction of a person’s daily visual stimuli must have an influence on his/her mood and can be a springboard to profound spiritual meditation. We would argue that in the Judaic tradition, usually thought of as essentially iconoclastic, according to the misinterpretation of the percept, not to make a “graven image”, there are many areas which are especially appropriate to visual meditation and a source of inspiration for the artist.
1. The Sacred Letters or the Hebrew letters according to the scribal style that appears in the Torah scroll.
3. Images of the Dialogue and Kosher Sex series, suggesting through abstract forms and archetypes the intimate relationship between a man and his wife, the most potent kabbalistic metaphor for spiritual connection.
4. In general, abstract art, or more precisely illusionist or “gestalt” art, can be become a strong stimulant to meditation, since it invites the active participation of the viewer with the endless possibility of seeing “new things”, thus eliciting multi-layered expansive consciousness.
5. The use of the Golden Section (Fibonacci series), Cubes and Supercubes, Spiral Helixes and Fractals, all of which are hinted at in Jewish philosophy and in particular the Kabbalah.
Since “seeing is believing” we invite you to test our “thesis” by viewing samples of our work at our web sites.
Recommended sites on kabbalah: