Fruits of Israel
In all these paintings I use butterflies to link the theme of thanking G-d for the fruits of the land.
I have used my large iPad and Apple pencil to create all the art work in this series.
The Seven Species: The Seven Fruits
Firstly, you may think the painting is upside down! However, it isn’t, as the tree is upside down for a reason. The answer is because, in Judaism, a righteous person is like a tree with its roots in heaven (Psalms (92:13-14). The seven species – The wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates in my painting are the seven fruits given to the Land of Israel from Above.
Finally, there is a Jewish blessing to say after eating any of these fruits, which is why I have depicted hands offering thanks upwards to The Creator.
Tu Bishvat, Butterflies
When we enter the land of Israel, according the Torah, we must plant trees. In Israel we do this especially on Tu Bishvat. When we plant we will be following the example of Our Creator, Who, ‘planted a garden [of trees] in Eden’.
In ‘Tu Bishvat, Butterflies’ a woman is planting a sapling, a newborn fruit tree. The butterflies on the woman’s scarf coming alive and flying/dancing about with joy. They know that they need trees and plant life to survive.
Tu Bishvat Seder
I really enjoy Tu Bishvat Seders. I love tasting the different fruits, drinking the four cups of wine, and saying all the Jewish blessings. I like listening to the discussions on the inner meanings of each fruit tasted. The musical seders, with instruments and songs are great fun. ‘Tu Bishvat Seder’ is based on a sketch I did whilst enjoying a wonderful Seder in Nachlaot, Jerusalem, where I was living before moving to Beer Sheva.
Blessing Over Trees
I enjoyed painting a man and his wife who are overjoyed to see blossoming fruit (almond) trees for the first time during the Jewish month of Nissan. They are reciting the special Jewish blessing, which is only said once a year.
First of all, it is our job to protect the trees, as they transform the earth from a barren mass into an environment capable of supporting us, as well as animals and other forms of life.
Secondly, we learn from the Talmud that the life of a person is from the tree.
‘When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, but thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee?’ (Deuteronomy 20:19)
In conclusion, we need to show sensitivity towards, and care for, nature.