By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
And Hashem Appeared to him
In the context of this painting, R’ Nachshon’s mentioned the verse in this parsha: “for I know that he [Avraham] will command his offspring and household after him to keep the way of Hashem in order that Hashem bring upon him that which He spoke to him That which He spoke to him » refers to the Promised Land according to the Alshich, for when Avraham’s offspring will know that they will receive the Holy Land due to their keeping of “Hashem’s Way,” that will cause them to persevere in this Way and bring blessing upon Avraham. It seems that R’ Nachshon in his commentary attached to this painting, makes a connection between this verse and a verse at the end of this parsha at the Akeida episode: “And he [Avraham] saw the place [Mount Moriah] from afar” upon which R’ Nachshon commented that Avraham “saw the Promised Land, place of the resting of the Holy Presence” from afar. This may hint at the teaching of our Sages that the entirety of the Promised Land is tied to the Temple Mount, Mount Moriah ( see Cholin 92. ). Based on this we may say that Abraham sees from afar, i.e., into the distant future, the promise of multiplicity of Israel and the promise of their inheritance of the Land. Both Israel and the Land are called “nahala/portion.” The Land of Israel is called “nahala” in many places in Tanach. Israel is called “nahala” in the verse “and they are your people and portion/nahala that you have taken [out of Egypt]” (Dvarim 9, 29). This deep connection between Israel and the Holy Land is a prime message of Hebron, the first Jewish settlement in the Holy Land. Hebron – Elonei Mamreh – as well is highlighted at the opening verse of this parsha, a parsha that highlights many ideas about Israel’s deep connection with the Holy Land and Temple.
Indeed, the rose in the painting may hint both to the People of Israel and to the Holy Presence inherent in the Holy Land and Temple, concepts associated in the Zohar to the rose in Shir Hashirim and to a concept called “Knesset Yisrael” literally meaning the “Assembly of Israel.” The Zohar says that the rose has in it whiteness and tints of red/purple, as is seen in this painting, a matter that hints at both kindness [white] and justice [red]. Therefore, we can understand why near the rose/Shoshana, we see figures of Klal Yisrael, I.e figures of people next to the rose, and also as representing the Shechinah upon Mount Moriah where this rose is seen, both concepts associated with the concept of Kneset Yisrael tied by the Zohar with the rose.
We also see flying angels in the painting, which are a clear hint, and also in R’ Nachshon’s attached commentary, to the angels Yakov saw at Mount Moriah. There are also pomegranates, six in number, as Israel is associated with the number six as in the six hundred thousand Israelites in the Wilderness, and also Israel, the wife in Shir Hashirim, are likened to a pomegranate. There are also ten angels from below to the top of the painting in one line hinting at ten kinds of angels, according to our Sages, which the Kabbalists also link to the ten sefirot. There are also twelve angels in a surrounding state around in the heavens, which may be alluding to the twelve tribes that each tribe is known to have a special angel.