Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday that comes five days after Yom Kippur.
The Seven Ushpizin/The Seven Guests
I started this oil painting before Sukkot last year – 5777/ 2017. I have just finished it in time for Sukkot this year – 5778/2018 It is one of my largest art works, measuring 120 cm x 80 cm. However – this is not the only work I have done, as I spend a large part of six working days (excluding Shabbat) painting.
This painting, and many other recent paintings, as well as older work, will be on show at Hechal Shlomo Museum of Jewish Art/Gallery In November this year (2018). The Opening of my Solo Exhibition ‘Gladness and Joy in Jerusalem’ is on 16.11.2018 at 11:00. All are welcome.
Building a Sukkah
Sukkah/Succah building has started now! As I sit in my office in Be’er Sheva writing this post I hear the sounds and conversation through my open window of neighbors erecting their Sukkah/Succah.
As I walked home last night after Yom Kippur I saw people fulfilling the Mitzvah (the commandment) to begin building a Sukkah after breaking the fast.
As I watched this building under a starry night sky I felt the message of hope, peace, hospitality.
What is a Sukkah?
It is a temporary dwelling to commemorate the tents which our ancestors dwelled during their 40-year trek through the Sinai desert on their way out of Egypt. Others say that the Sukkah is a reminder of the miraculous clouds of glory that shielded us from the desert sun.
The goal is to spend as much time as possible in the sukkah, eating meals in the sukkah—particularly the festive meals on the first two nights of the holiday. Some people even sleep in the sukkah.
The Seven Ushpizin /The Seven Guests
During Sukkot, according to Kabbalah, the Sukkah generates an intense concentration of spiritual energy.
The souls of the seven great leaders of Israel – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and King David – actually leave Gan Eden to partake in the divine light of the earthly Sukkah.
Together these transcendent guests are known as Ushpizin, the Aramaic word meaning “guests.”
Each day of Sukkot, all seven souls are present, but each takes his turn to lead the other six, beginning with Abraham on the first night.
Day One: Abraham the First Guest
Abraham personifies Chessed, the attribute of benevolence or love. A mystical invitation is recited upon entering the Sukkah for the first time in order to welcome him.
I have begun depicting the 7 Ushpizin, and so far have finished the first image. I plan to post more as I finish them.
Abraham reaching Heavenward
The countless Stars
‘And He (Hashem) took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5)
‘Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.
When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth … ‘ (Genesis 18:1)