By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
And Moshe and Aharon Went and Gathered All the Elders of Israel
This parsha begins the life of Moshe Rabeinu, the messenger of Hashem to redeem Israel, thus .considered the forerunner of the Mashiach, according to the Zohar. In this painting we see what seems to be a Messianic figure. This figure wears a crown, apparently since the Mashiach is considered a king. This figure emerges from a tree, apparently hinting to the verse talking about the Mashiach “a sprout shall emerge from the trunk/stump of Jesse… and a spirit of Hashem shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and might, a spirit of knowledge and awe of Hashem.” The black, seemingly lifeless branches may hint to a tree stump that lost its life as described in the verse we just mentioned, but yet is given new life and Divine “spirit” through the Mashiach as mentioned in the verse. Indeed, surrounding this figure we see what seems to be swirling winds/”spirits”. In the trunk/tree that this figure is part of we see what seems to be three black main branches to the right, three black main branches to the left, while the Messianic figure is the central “branch,” thus this tree has some resemblance to the seven “branched” Menora, a common theme in many of Nachshon’s paintings. The central figure itself has three main “branches/throngs,” I.e the head and two arms. Emanating from this tree above the wind/cloud we see twelve green branches, quite clearly hinting to the renewed life given to the twelve tribes of Israel. The branches are united together as one green “bush” hinting to their unity as well. Indeed, underneath this tree we see twelve dancing hasidim hinting to these tribes. At their center two of these hasidim are seen embraced/united, apparently hinting to the leading tribes Yehuda and Yosef, about which Yehezkiel prophesized that they will be united. One of these embraced figures carries a sefer Torah hinting to Judah, the tribe of kings, and the king is supposed to carry a sefer Torah wherever he goes.
The numbers, three, seven, and twelve have Kabbalistic significance in Sefer Yetzira, which discusses how the sum of these numbers is equal to twenty-two, the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Indeed, we see twenty-two protrusions/blocks of the wall surrounding the tree here, and the alphabet is considered the “building blocks” of Creation in Sefer Yetzira. Also of Kabbalistic significance are the four hasidim dancing on the “external” wall, while eight are found “internally” inside the wall. The Kabbalah describes twelve spiritual lights of which eight are associated with the “internal front” and four are “external back” aspects. The Kabbalah also describes a 13th supernal aspect which may be hinted by the Messianic figure, the 13th “hasid.” Indeed at the end of the book of Yehezkel we find twelve portions allocated for the twelve tribes, while the 13th portion is allocated for the King Mashiach.
All these messages are clearly found in Hebron, which contains the Tomb of Jesse, and also according to the Zohar Hebron awakens the coming redemption as it says: “At that time (the “end
of days”) the three Patriarchs will adjoin with might, and Truah, Shvarim, Tkiah will be sounded, and with them the “the earth shall shake”, and this will be in the “end of days”, and all these miracles will be in the Land of Israel, for there is Hebron where the Patriarchs are buried.”(Tikunei Zohar 13, 28b)