Making it Real
One of my goals in making Jewish ritual art is to make the ritual and the text come alive for the user. The pivotal text during the Passover Seder is
בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים
In every generation each person needs to see themselves as if they personally left Egypt.
I want this matzah cover to put you right in the middle of the split sea. I want you to feel the dampness of the water on either side of you. I had added blue cording along the edges of the water. it looked pretty, but too static to my eye.
So, my slobby storage methods came to save the day. Some chiffon I had painted a while back to look like water, was sticking out of a pile of fabric. I tore the chiffon into strips and gathered and stitched it to the Matzah cover.
I love how it expresses the feeling of the water being held back with great force.
Yes, it’s a little over the top.
But something that is used two nights a year can be a little outrageous.
I now digress. Yesterday I received notice of this lecture Was Avraham Aveinu awaiting mashiach .
For those of you who are not familiar with what is known as “Yeshivish “ English let me translate into standard English. The topic of the lecture is “ Was our father Abraham waiting for the messiah”.
Well, I suppose you can watch the video tonight if you want. I can however save you the trouble. The answer is of course…NO!
There was a tendency in earlier rabbinic writing, mostly because folks of earlier eras were less historically minded than we are, to be willing to create exegetic anachronisms and be willing to live with them. So according to commentators of the 1100’s our patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob followed every commandment in the Torah, even though the giving of the Torah occurred several generations or centuries after they died.
The most famous case of this sort of reading of the text occurs when Abraham serves his angelic guests butter with meat. The rabbinic commentators correct the text to confirm with current Jewish laws of kashrut and tell us that the butter was served BEFORE the meat. ( How could our father Abraham eat treif??)
So this lecture is now going to attempt to prove that Abraham believed in the messiah, a concept that didn’t exist in Judaism until after the destruction of the Temple. Puhlease! Give me a break.
I am begrudgingly willing to accept this sort of theological anachronism from folks who lived before a real concept of historical thinking and find it adorable, but don’t take it too seriously. But when people who live in 2013/5774 do it I find it intellectually unacceptable.
OK. I’m done with my rant.