“A chaotic world stands before us as long as we have not attained to that degree of higher perfection of uniting all life forces and all their diverse tendencies. As long as each one exalts himself, claiming, I am sovereign, I and none other – there cannot be peace in our midst… All our endeavours must be directed toward disclosing the light of general harmony, which derives not from suppressing any power, any thought, any tendency, but by bringing each of them within the vast ocean of infinite light, where all things find their unity, where all is ennobled, all is exalted, all is hallowed.”
Abraham Isaac Kook 1865 – 1935
In every religion there is an inner fire that needs to be released. Each religion has the same truth that is stated in different conceptual languages. I believe that with a mystical understanding, often drawing on all the many scriptural inspirations, one can help overcome the tragic religious conflicts which continue to plague our world. Obviously the various religions do have their own endless theological debates. However, there are many crucial points of reflective agreement between faiths. The underlying spiritual understandings at the heart of every religious tradition can be seen to be in essence the same, although the conceptual and cultural forms they take are unique and individual. Departing from the basic mystical premise that the underlying truth of a human’s nature is the inter-relatedness of all existence, the seemingly particular parts of differing religions can be drawn together to form a peaceful whole in which existence is seen as a union of all creatures and all worlds
The key to this is an understanding, acceptance and knowledge of the inner world of the soul which, in mysticism, is regarded as a part of the Divine and, as such, as a manifestation of G-d in the world. In this way each and every person is viewed as an intrinsic part of the divine source of light. The souls can be imagined flowing continually in and out of the same primeval source, and all as similarly and simultaneously aspiring to reach out and grow and return to the same divine source. All the races and tribes on earth can be seen in this way as having a common bond, and time wasted in looking only at the outward physical and material differences and appearances negates all feeling of joy and hope.
Learning from other cultures and religions adds a dimension to one’s own and adds to the advancement of harmony. We have, therefore, a duty to rid ourselves of ignorance of other cultures and religions and enlighten ourselves about them. This will challenge one’s own understanding and thereby encourage the process of questioning and understanding that is necessary in order to perfect one’s faith. Each person has a historical experience of his/her own. This is why it is impossible to force individual religious beliefs onto one another. One should rather attempt to come to an understanding and appreciation of one another’s religions and thereby together participate in the ascent towards the divine light, each in one’s own particular way.
In focussing upon Judaism and its specific aspects, I am attempting to show the viewer the hidden mysteries therein, which are also found deep within all the religions of the world. I am interested in portraying the spirit and not the doctrines of Judaism. I want to convey the innermost and fundamental aspects of the spirit of Judaism. One can imagine a beautiful rose with its many elegant petals. The petals are what make up the rose. I paint the aspects, or petals which I feel make up the spirit of Judaism. These are based on scenes from the Bible; verses from the mystical Zohar; the many and diverse philosophies within the Jewish tradition; the land of Israel; the legends; the festivals; and the concepts of ‘joy’ and ‘suffering’. The works in the Holocaust art category in the ‘My Art’ page of this website depict ‘suffering’. Through these pictures I attempt to paint religious feeling and religious reality in its very essence.
I add mysticism to my work as mysticism and art are both universal languages of the human soul. Kabbalah is in fact the mystical dimension of Judaism as a whole. The Zohar is the text that inspires most of these illustrations. The verses of the Zohar represent the spiritual side of Judaism while remaining completely true to Judaic orthodoxy. Its constant topics are the longing for the eternal, the reuniting with G-d, enlightenment through love, and the merging of one’s self with the universal spirit of the world. The intention of my art is a strong and enduring spiritual message that can touch us all eternally. This message is outside any particular spiritual tradition, although it is spiced with a strong flavour of Judaism. The intention of this work is also, of course, to lead the viewer into the essence of the timeless beauty of Jewish mysticism. The realm of the spirit is every bit as tangible as the material world. It is my belief that it is mostly through artistic intuition that the deeper reality can be perceived.