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Ellen Miller Braun has used a great deal of symbolism in Light of Redemption.
The Haftorah (Shabbath readings from the Prophets) of the seven Sabbaths between the Fast of the 9th of the Jewish month of Av and Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) are called The Sheva D’nechamta – The Seven of Consolation. These chapters contain Isaiah’s prophecies offering hope and comfort after the destruction of the first Temple. Half of each of the seven sections speaks of affliction, while the other half is full of words of comfort.
The seven readings inscribed in micro calligraphy, three full times in this piece are:
1) Isaiah 40:1-27, 2) 49:14-51:3, 3) 54:11-55:5, 4) 51:12-52:12, 5) 54:1-10, 6) 60:1-22, 7) 61:10-63:9. *Isaiah 40:1-27 is repeated a fourth time.*
Voiced in these verses is Isaiah’s plea with his fellow Jews and the Jews of the future generations to remember from where we come: Abraham and Sarah. The star laden, dome capped sky, twinkles with the fulfilled promise to Abraham that his seed will be as the stars in the sky – too numerous to count!
Isaiah reminds us that HaShem will comfort us. No matter how horrible the situation, hope is always at hand. “Messiah can come at any moment” is a principle of Jewish faith. While questioning the causes of exile and suffering, we must always remember that the day will come when HaShem will joyously call to Jerusalem “Wake up! Wake up! Don your strength O Zion, don the garments of your splendor, O Jerusalem.
Isaiah calls to Jerusalem to “lift her eyes and watch her children returning to her.” The suffering of the Jewish people will end. The climax of the Prophecy is that this will be the final redemption. “Never again shall your sun set, nor shall your moon be withdrawn, for HaShem shall be unto you an eternal light and ended shall be your days of mourning.”
May this promise come soon in our day….
Micah 4:1-7; 7:7-9
The sides and bottom of Light of Redemption come alive with the procession of people walking, dancing and studying from the Holy Tomes, as they ascend to Jerusalem. The people are filled with the 5 repetitions of the verses from Micah. Hashem took us out of Egypt with a “strong hand, an outstretched arm…” The number 5 represents the might of HaShems’ strong “hand” through which we will be brought home once again, this time to stay.
“…and the peoples shall stream towards it (Jerusalem). And many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the L-rd and to the house of the G-d of Jacob’…Torah shall go forth from Zion and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem…. And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore. … And we will walk in the name of the L-rd for ever and ever and G-d will reign over them in mount Zion from now and forever.”
“When I fall, I shall arise, when I sit in darkness, HaShem shall be a Light to me… He will bring me forth to the Light and I shall behold His righteousness.”
Repetition of the number Three
The number three is repeated throughout Light of Redemption. The Seven Consolations is written three full times (*Isaiah 40:1-27 is inscribed a fourth time). Light flows forth creating the Star of David. Three of the star’s triangles hold the blazing glow of light, while the light reflects and exposes Rebuilt Jerusalem in the other three triangles. In the center of all is the Holy Temple. In Judaism, “three repetitions” is called a “chazakah.” The word Chazakah means “fast” as in fasten, secure, well founded. Writing The Seven of Consolations three full times as a chazakah embodies our belief that this prophecy is “well fastened in reality,” it will occur!
Why Three Shofrot –Rams’ Horns
Though this piece is dedicated to all, the central symbolism, the three Shofrot, focuses on three teenagers: Keren Shatsky, Rachel Thaler and Nechemia Amar of Blessed memory. The lives of Keren, Rachel and Nechemia were taken from us all too soon on the night of February16, 2002 when a terrorist exploded himself at Karnei Shomron community mall. K,R,N are the initials of their first names. In Hebrew, KRN – Kuf, Resh, Nun, spells the word Keren (the same as Keren Stansky’s’ name). “Keren” has two meanings: “Horn” as in ram’s horn and “Ray” of light. When looking at the piece close up, one sees three distinct shofrot – one for each child. From a distance, the three shofrot blend together looking almost like one entity, just as the three names and souls blend together with their initials. The light streams forth from the shofrot like a beacon of truth as this testimony of the prophecy of Isaiah flows through the double arched Gate of Mercy – the gate through which the Messiah will return to Jerusalem.
*The writing of Isaiah 40:1-27 a fourth time represents all the Jewish lives we have lost through the sanctification of G-d’s name, through the generations, until, and especially including, today. In gematria, Jewish numerology, the letter “dalet,” the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, equals the number 4. In Hebrew, the number 4 is “dalet which is interchangeable with the word “delet” which means door. Our prayers are a doorway to HaShem. This fourth repetition represents all the lost lives and our plea for our prayers to reach through the doors of the Heavens and be heard.
From loss comes hope and the light of Redemption. Though many lives and dreams have been shattered, we find the comfort of Hashem surrounding us even though we cannot understand His ways. May we soon see Redemption in our days. This piece, Light of Redemption, is dedicated to the memory of the artists, friends and neighbors of Karnei shomron who will be forever missed.
Proceeds from the sale of Light of Redemption will be used to bring assistance and comfort to terror victims and their families. May it uplift and bring light to the memory of those we have lost.