Parshat Toldot 2021


By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron                                                         

לשכנו תדרשו
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land

And May God Give You from the Dew of Heaven

A major theme of this parsha is “blessing,” as can be seen in the blessing of Yitzhak in his finding “a hundred gates,” the wells he builds, and of course, the blessings he bestows upon Yakov. In fact, it is to be inferred from Yitzhak’s inability to bless Esav in the same fashion that he blessed Yakov, as Esav demanded, “do you have only one blessing?!”, that the power of Yitzhak’s blessings were so great that it was if they already had concrete validity in a way that could not be duplicated, just as a million dollars cannot be given twice…
In Nachshon’s painting, which he tied to the blessing-theme in this parsha, we see the theme of drops of dew that may allude to our title verse from this parsha taken from Yitzhak’s blessing to Yakov “and may God give you from the Dew of Heaven.” Just as dew gives fruition, we also see that Yakov gave fruition to twelve tribes, which may be hinted at in the painting by twelve drops of dew. There are three groups of four drops, one group on the right, the second group to the left, and the third group in the center. Similarly, the tribes were arranged in the Wilderness into four times three groups, i.e., three tribes in all four directions. There is also a drop inside the shofar which alludes to a secret [which we will not elaborate on…] taught by the Arizal that there is a Divine light/”drop” that so-to-speak “emanates” from the narrower side of the shofar towards the broader side.
Also, note the unison of the right and left shofars and the unison of the right and left gazelles, which both seem to allude to the unison of masculine and feminine. Regarding the gazelles, this is quite clearly hinted since the right gazelle has its horns pointed up representing association with “heaven” associated by the Kabbalists to the masculine, while the left gazelle has its horns pointed below, representing the “earth” below associated with the feminine. This theme seems to allude to the teaching of our Sages that only through marriage, i.e., the unison of masculine and feminine, can true blessing be achieved. Profoundly, at the very center of this unison stands the righteous figure which is half human and half angel [notice the wings], hinting to one of the greatest righteous figures of all time, the figure of Moshe Rabeinu, who our Sages teach was “half-human”- “half Godly/angelic.” This figure itself embodies this theme we mentioned of unting heaven/angelic and earth/manly. Adjacent to this figure is the Temple, which is also considered by our Sages to be the bridge between heaven and earth. Then, continuing the angelic theme towards heaven, above these are ten angels hinting to the ten types of angels, specified by our Sages. Also, the masculine-feminine theme is continued through the right and left pomegranites, a fruit that is primarily seed, and then five flowers, representing the power of fruition, emanate upwards to the right and the left, representing the “five [masculine]aspects of kindness” and “five [feminine] aspects of judgment” taught by the Kabbalists. There is much more to discuss about this painting [such as the Rosh Hashana theme here and more], but we will suffice with this for now. The spirit of Hebron – meaning unity – can be indeed seen in this painting of beautiful unison and blessing by Hebron’s famous painter, Baruch Nachshon, of blessed memory.

We will take a temporary recess on Real stories from the Holy Land so that Nachshon’s paintings will be given more time for contemplation by our readers

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