וְדָוִ֣ד עַבְדִּ֔י נָשִׂ֥יא לָהֶ֖ם לְעוֹלָֽם
וְכָרַתִּ֤י לָהֶם֙ בְּרִ֣ית שָׁל֔וֹם בְּרִ֥ית עוֹלָ֖ם יִהְיֶ֣ה אוֹתָ֑ם וּנְתַתִּים֙ וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֣י אוֹתָ֔ם וְנָתַתִּ֧י אֶת-מִקְדָּשִׁ֛י בְּתוֹכָ֖ם לְעוֹלָֽם
By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
In this parsha we see exceptional roles of leadership, as befitting kings, in the figures of Yehuda and Yosef. Indeed, many years later from the offspring of Yehuda and Yosef sprouted two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Yehuda and the Kingdom of Yisrael, a matter discussed in this week’s haftora. In the haftora Yehezkel prophesizes that these two Kingdoms will be united, a theme also seen in this parsha in which Yehuda and Yosef are reunited in peace.
One painting of R’ Nachshon that seems to depict the unity of Israel and also a regal theme is the painting before you. In this painting we see a regal crown at the center and the Star/s of David, as David is the prototype of royalty in general and in Nachshon’s paintings specifically, at the top of the center of the painting. We also see variously colored figures found within two candles and also in a procession towards the Temple. These figures are colored in the pigments of flames, united together in the context of the Temple in the center. This may reflect the idea of “the candle of Hashem is the soul of man,” also suggesting that each soul has a special unique “pigment” in the grand soul/flame of the People. Desite the differences between the figures, we see that these figures/flames are united together as in the two candles of Shabbat which hint to the covenant, a matter held by two sides, between Hashem and Israel through the Shabbat – “it [the Shabbat] is an omen between Me and you.” This very covenant, our unity to Hashem, also strengthens the unity between us as “bnei brit” – People of the Covenant.
Regarding the regal theme here we see that there are, besides the central star of David, seven stars of David above three such stars, a matter that seems to hint to the ten sefirot which the Kabbalists divide into a group of seven and a group of three. We also see ten pomegranates, a fruit that resembles a regal crown and also this fruit is customarily eaten on Rosh Hashana which has a major theme on God’s Kingship. Just underneath the central crown we see seven tiny yellow drops, then seven white drops a bit larger, and then seven larger yellow drops, I.e three to the right, three to the left and a central drop at the center – like the Menora is formed. It seems that these drops represent the “dew of blessing”, while white stands for blessing from kindness while yellow/gold stands for blessing from the side of judgment. There is also a drop within a drop, and therefore there are 22 drops, perhaps hinting to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet associted with blessing – “Becha – numerically equivalent to 22 – yevarech Yisrael.” These drops come in the context of the upraised hands that are customarily raised in the way painted here to signify receiving blessing from Above. This blessing is definitely associated with the Temple found between these two hands – “for there [at the Temple] Hashem has ordered blessing.” All this is found in the midst of the houses of Zion as our Sages teach that “if you light the lights of Shabbat I will show you the lights of Zion.” Many of the themes we discussed here may be hinted in and may also shed light upon the title verses we displayed here found in this week’s haftora, including many verses before them and after them. The themes of unity and royalty found in this painting and in our parsha a clearly found in King David’s rise to power specifically in Hebron thereby uniting – “hibur” – all Israel around him, paving the way to the Temple.