Sunday, January 1, 2006

Jerusalem Flow and Flourish, By Michoel Muchnik

Jerusalem Flow and Flourish
By Michoel Muchnik

On display at
K'hal Tzemach Tzedek Lubavitch of Monsey
2 Langeries Drive, Monsey, New York 10952

The world is in a constant state of flow, as G-d’s abundant blessings flow down upon us. By harnessing and embracing the flow, we assist G-d in bringing the world to a state of flourish.

The Torah is compared to water. Just as a fish cannot survive without being immersed in water, so too, the Jewish people need to be in a perpetual state of being surrounded by water – Torah.

The three waterfalls depicted in the piece represent the spiritual dimensions of Chochma - wisdom , Bina – understanding and Daas - knowledge , colloquially known by their abbreviation as Chabad. These are like the Torah, emanating from on high, flowing down to permeate this world. So too, within every person, the three attributes of Chabad flow into the seven other Middos - qualities.

The water is pictured seeping into every available crack or space, no matter how low, so too must the Torah find its way into our Middos as represented by our thoughts, speech and action. The rivulets flow down, nurturing the parched earth of our souls, exiled from G-d’s side and cause a spiritual ascension. This in turn grows and feeds the many levels of the ground ultimately leading to an overflowing, blooming and flourishing expression of a yearn to rise higher, as depicted by the flowering pots.

Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shem Tov taught us that the earth is filled with underground wellsprings and hidden treasures. We find these only through digging in the recesses of our soul and uprooting the essence within us, the most treasured of all treasures, our G-dly spark.

Our development as Jews was put in place by the three unions of the Matriarchs and the Patriarchs. It is written in Kabbalah that they represented the three Middos, which feed all the other Middos. Chessed – kindness, Gevurah – strength and Tiferes – beauty. In the background to the right is Avrohom’s famous open four-door tent, representing the attribute of kindness and placed on the right as the right side spiritually represents kindness. The left side corresponds to the attribute of strength, the domain of Isaac and symbolized by the ram, a reminder of the stern and strong hand needed to carry out the offering up of Isaac at Mount Moriah.

In the midst of these two concepts stands Jacob, the perfect fusion of strength and kindness, representing beauty. There are many lovely ideas and stimulus in this world, but true beauty is the merging of them, as the colors of the rainbow. Jacob is expressed by the gathering of small jars, the jars which he returned to gather after his fight with the angel of Esau. Jacob gathered the jars in order to utilize them in the service of the Almighty. Similarly, we are entrusted not only to gather the jars and utilize them, but to gather even the shards. These are the shards or sparks which were broken and shattered in the transition of the world from a state of chaos to creation. Chassidic philosophy teaches that the world will be ready for redemption after these sparks are all gathered and elevated, which will bring the world to a state of true Tiferes – beauty.

Jerusalem is the spiritual center of the world, but on what does the world stand? Our Sages teach that the world stands on three things; Torah, Avodah – service and Gemillus Chassadim- acts of kindness.

Depicted in the windows of the Jerusalem interiors are the Synagogue, the Tallis and Tefillin – representing Avodah. The home full of Torah books on the shelves represent Torah, and the Tzedakah charity box represent Gemillus Chassadim.

Jerusalem, the heartbeat of the Jewish nation, receives the flow and the hint of flourish, all from G-d. Our mission is to cause that flourish, to flow back, to flood. As is written in the book of Isaiah and highlighted by the great Maimonides, “The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d like the waters of the sea cover the earth,” with the imminent coming of our righteous Moshiach.

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