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I’m delighted to offer you my acclaimed books, and  limited edition prints of many of the illuminations from them.  E-books of Arise! Arise! are also available through links provided below.  Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification, in its complete hard-back and bencher versions,  is also now available for purchase, through your favorite book source, and through the indicated link below. Enjoy!

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Signed and Dedicated Copies of Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah.  Please provide your dedication information in the “note to seller” box you will see in the course of purchasing. Dedications, including names, should amount to no more than 15 words. You may also stipulate that I should only sign the book. $39.95 (free USPS Priority Mail shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations.)

E-books of Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah may be purchased by clicking here.

The last few copies of I Will Wake the Dawn: Illuminated Psalms are available directly from the Honeybee in the Garden Shop, for $125.00

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations.  CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification: “The illuminations present a flourishing oak tree as an allegory of the wisdom and strength of the Shabbat Bride, the Shekhinah, and the home-maker who embodies her as we sit down at the dinner table to begin our Shabbat feast. My grandmother, Bessie Pakman Swift, was the oak from which all life in my family sprang. The very model of the rebbetzin, rabbi’s wife, committed not only to her husband, children and home, but also to her London community through war-time and rebuilding, regal leader of countless Jewish and non-Jewish women’s organizations throughout mid-twentieth century England and South Africa—all paths in our extended family led back to her. That same strength and wisdom has characterized Jewish homemakers throughout the ages, and inspires these illuminations….”

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Approx. 28″x 18″.Signed and numbered. Edition limited to 500.

$250US or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations.CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

“Jewish tradition inaugurates almost all sacred times with blessings over wine.  The illuminations of the Friday night Kiddush express the mystical metaphor of the wine’s translation of Divine Wisdom into the material world.  The wine to which the young woman in the Song of Songs compares to her lover’s kisses symbolizes Divine wisdom in Kabbalah. Jewish mystical tradition suggests that Shabbat is the time of the week when the light of that wisdom flows most abundantly into our material realm. Jewish lore compares the Torah—the essential expression of Divine wisdom—to water, the physical substance that apart from its component oxygen, is most essential to sustaining life. The micrographic text bordering the two paintings presents Proverbs 8:22-31, a seminal text in kabbalistic tradition, in which Wisdom, anthropomorphized as a woman, describes how she was created by God as his companion since “the beginning of His course, as the first of His works of old.”

At right the Hebrew illumination plays with the image of the wine fountains with which many of us share Kiddush with the family and friends at our tables. The wine, however, overflows from one level to the next, following the Kabbalistic metaphor that describes how Divine Wisdom flows from the highest, most hidden aspects of God, downward until it reaches the material world and finally appears as water.   The cups symbolize the ten sefirot, or emanations of God and each is painted in the characteristic color that the mystical tradition assigns to its corresponding sefira.  The pyramid arrangement of the cups alludes to the human understanding of order in the universe….”

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations.CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

“While Shabbat candle-lighting began simply to light the Shabbat table so that the family could enjoy their festive meal together, the light from the candles has come to express values far beyond simple pragmatism. In the illuminations I express the exchange of prayer and light between the heavens above and human world below as we begin Shabbat by illuminating our tables.

Early Kabbalistic manuals on Sabbath observance suggest that the light from the Shabbat candles adds to the neshama yeterah, the additional soul that flowers within the soul of every Jew during Shabbat. Since the neshama yeterah descends from the feminine Shekhinah, the woman of the house enjoys the privilege of lighting the candles, thus reenacting the unification of the human and divine spheres, of the sefirot themselves.  The pleasure of the candlelight extends to all who celebrate Shabbat within it; he compares the candlelight that reaches toward Heaven to Jacob’s Ladder (Gen 28:12), suggesting that the light gladdens and blesses the hearts of those it illuminates. The Hebrew illumination presents the silver candlesticks passed from my grandmother to my mother within a design presenting depictions of sources of light and human understandings of the cosmos.  The blue and gold motif representing the shefa, the divine energy flowing throughout the universe, becomes the candle flames.  We view the candles against the dusk sky lit by the setting sun while the ever-evolving deep sky wheels far above our heads and homes…”

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US without gold or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

All of us blessed with children wish many things for them—a long and healthy life, love, learning and spiritual joy, success and prosperity and many more blessings—yet, for me as a parent, all of these discrete joys add up to wishing each of my sons and daughters a serene soul—indeed, for all the nation of Israel a serene soul.  No text better captures the nature of the grace I pray will be granted to my children than Jeremiah 31:12, prophesying that Israel’s “soul shall be as a watered garden.”  The illuminations depict the luxuriant garden of the serene soul, held within each of the parent’s two hands, raised to call down divine blessing. In Kabbalah, the ten fingers of the hands symbolize the ten sefirot, channeling God’s creative energy into the material world. Droplets of the divine everflow, the shefa, float beside the initial words of the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26).

At right the Hamsa—a traditional hand-shaped Sephardic and eastern Jewish amulet for divine protection—presents an apple tree laden with fruit, bringing to mind the Kabbalistic likening of the Shekhinah, the Shabbat Bride, to a “field of holy apples.” The single stalk of pink lilies on each painting suggests the value of Torah in the imperfect human world.  As we have seen, the Psalmist saw in the palm tree a symbol of the righteous person. The trees and surrounding plants thrive next to a river, the flowing water that throughout Jewish lore symbolizes Torah, that element most essential to the spiritual life of Jews, and which the Kabbalists associated with divine wisdom. As we have seen throughout this work, the eagle calls to mind God’s power and ultimate protection of Israel. The geometric pattern painted within the palm of each hand is part of a classical Moorish pattern, part of the visual world of the medieval Sephardic Jews, expressing the notion that all matter flows from, and returns to, God. The paintings are bordered with Jeremiah’s (31:12) prophesy of Israel’s restoration from exile:

They shall come and sing in the height of Zion and shall flow to the bounty of the Lord, for wheat and for wine, and for oil and for the young of the flock and of the herd and their soul shall be like a watered garden.

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

$250US without gold or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations.

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

These paintings present the Motsei, the Blessing over Bread recited prior to eating bread at any meal, whether on Shabbat, festivals, or weekdays, and a short woman’s meditation relating to it. All the baker’s work at mixing, kneading and rising develops the protein chains, activates the yeast and ferments the sugars to create the gas bubbles that “rise” the dough. However, in Jewish tradition, all this biochemistry causes effects even loftier than feeding appreciative diners at the Shabbat table. We explore these loftier aspects of the hallah in two paintings.

At right

This illumination presents one woman’s private devotional prayer, a tehine, that links the act of baking the bread to the blessing at table, and elevates the sacred, but nonetheless quotidian blessing itself to a special Sabbath meditation.  This tehine is especially meaningful for me as I bake my family’s weekly hallah, since it carries the thoughts of my own ancestress, Perl, the wife of the Hassidic master, Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev (1740-1810) Perl’s brief meditation surrounds a scene of a woman needing the challah dough, the ball of dough surrounded by its bed of flour, an egg and honey. At bottom right, a macroscopic view of budding yeast cells escapes the frame.

At left

The Hebrew and English translation of the actual blessing surround an image conveying the mystical significance of the act of breaking the bread. The two loaves are set within a view of the deep cosmos, suggesting the all-suffusing Divine, and the hills of Judah burgeoning with the wheat harvest.   In simple Jewish practice, the custom of blessing not one but two loaves on Shabbat commemorates the double portion of manna the Israelites collected for Shabbat during the desert wanderings; in mystical practice the dual loaves symbolize “shamor”(keep the Sabbath) and “zakhor (remember the Sabbath) and the Sabbath wedding of pairs of the divine emanations. The hallah itself symbolizes the entire Sabbath meal, which, according to the mystical traditions going back to the Heikhalot (Palaces) mysticism of the Second Temple period, is the earthly double of the heavenly celebration.

The illumination present an image of two hallot, leaning together as the bottom one is broken, together nourishing both human family and by extension their friends and community. The bread is shown sprung from the fields that produced its grain, while the deep sky overhead reminds us of the Eternal’s presence within which all the cosmos resides. The four winged seraphim surround and guard this core of the human and heavenly feast.

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US without gold, or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

Family and friends gathered around the Sabbath dinner table begin the Sabbath feast by singing Shalom Aleikhem. The words of the poem are inscribed at left in the crimson, blue, purple and gold prescribed in Exodus 26 and 28 for the hangings of the Ark of the Covenant, (and later described in the biblical accounts of Solomon’s Temple) and the priestly vestments. The translation embedded in the paintings was accomplished for this project by the celebrated scholar of medieval Hebrew poetry and liturgy, Raymond P. Scheindlin.

The young family have prepared their home for Shabbat, transformed from its workaday backdrop of work, school, child-raising and mundane activity; the home has become the family’s sacred space. Now the angels accompany the family home from synagogue to enjoy their Shabbat together. The family’s unity embodies the Shabbat unification of wisdom, life and matter, blessed by the angels, the messengers of the Divine. The painting presents a visual allegory of the unity of all matter, of the divine blessings the family enjoys as the nearly hidden angels accompany them home to celebrate Shabbat in their beloved home, illuminated by the light of the Shabbat candles.  Ahead of the accompanying angels whose arms stretch over them in blessing, the family enter their home as into a palace; the weedy paving stones outside give way to immaculate tile, the blue doors swing wide to reveal the candle-lit Shabbat table within.  The home’s columns suggest biblical descriptions of Solomon’s Temple, the potted palm reminds the viewer of Psalm 92’s comparison of the righteous person within the sacred Temple. The two columns remind us of the two pomegranate-crowned pillars that Kings I describes at the gates of the Temple.  Just beyond the column at right stands a potted palm. Psalm 92 and midrash compare the palm—and the righteous people it symbolizes—growing not in nature, but deliberately transplanted into the Temple itself.   A massive olive tree stretching over the doorway alludes not only to the oil used both for anointing priests and kings, but also, as in Psalm 128, to children clustered around the family table to the shoots that spring from the olive trees roots. Behind the branches the family glimpses the night sky; this view of the deep sky recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope includes imagery of some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, formed close to the moment of Creation.  Two decorative borders surround the painting. The inner border presents a palmette motif adapted from a small ivory plaque contemporary with the First Temple, and relates to the decorations for the Solomon’s Temple. The vivid floral border not only calls to mind the fragrance and color of the Shabbat table, but also allude to specific qualities of the family’s Jewish home life.  Midrash describes the thorny Burning Bush as a humble rose bush. The pink lilies allude to a famous midrash that compares a stalk of fragrant pink lilies growing in an otherwise ruined royal orchard to the value of the Ten Commandments in the corrupt human world. The angels have accompanied this family into their home to celebrate a restful Shabbat infused with pleasure, tradition and worship of the Creator.

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US without gold, or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

This is the only psalm (besides Psalm 30) with a heading that stipulates the liturgical occasion for which it was used in antiquity, the Sabbath; yet it contains no explicit reference to the Sabbath. It may have been selected because of its beginning and its end. It opens by depicting the worshiper’s satisfaction on contemplating God’s creative activity, a mood that one might imagine as corresponding to the mood of God Himself contemplating His own completed work on the first Sabbath day. It closes by describing the rewards of the righteous, which were understood by rabbinic thinkers as being in the World-to-Come, of which the Sabbath is a prefiguring. From an exegetical point of view, the psalm thus looks backward to Creation and forward to the World-to-Come.  The translation embedded in the paintings was accomplished for this project by the celebrated scholar of medieval Hebrew poetry and liturgy, Raymond P. Scheindlin.

The psalm recounts how during the sacred Shabbat the righteous Jewish soul is transplanted into the Temple’s sacred space to praise God’s eternal goodness. The illuminations present a mystical allegory of the Shekhinah and the soul planted in the sacred place and time. The mystical tradition compares the glory of the Shekhinah, the Shabbat Bride, to the fragrance and beauty of “field of holy apples,” within which the verses rest. On the eve of Shabbat, the tradition holds, God unites with the Sabbath Bride in the holy field, and the souls of the righteous spring from their union. The branches of these apple trees grow in a fractal pattern, such as are found throughout the natural world; the fractal here has tree branches branching repetitively in the shape of the Hebrew letter, Shin, as in the divine name, Shaddai found on every mezuzah scroll.  The potted cedar and palm derive directly from the psalm’s comparison of these two trees to the righteous person; growing not in nature but transplanted to the sacred precincts of the Temple, they flourish, their height, strength and fruit sweetly praising the Creator.        Copyright© 2016 Debra Band

Lekha Dodi, "Come my Beloved" from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification.

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$200 US without gold or $350 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

This elegant song, a central element of the traditional synagogue Kabbalat Shabbat service, a kind of many-layered symbolic puzzle embodying a host of kabbalistic ideas about the nature of Shabbat, urges us to welcome the arrival of the Shekhinah, the Shabbat Bride, into our midst at this cusp of the supernal and material worlds.  In the illuminations we watch, as though we are wedding guests, as she floats toward her huppah, and enriches the human world with divine wisdom.

This full-page painting, that accompanies the initial verses of the song in Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification, presents the wedding scene as the Bride approaches. Wisdom, ushered into the human realm through Shekhinah, speaks in the border text, drawn from Proverbs 8 (quotation available in explanation provided with purchase). The huppah billows in a breeze that brings to mind the ruah Adonai, the wind, or spirit of God that hovered over the waters at the moment of Creation. The canopy’s edges are embroidered with a repeated pattern of the Hebrew letters, daled vav daled yud/yud hay vav hay, which in Kabbalah suggests the transformation of the human groom, the beloved,“dodi”, into the sefira, Tifereth, fulfilling the human role in bringing about the unification of the divine emanations.  Clouds, alluding to God’s guidance of Israel through the desert, give way to the deep sky symbolizing the all-suffusing divine presence.  Shekhinah’s groom, Tifereth, has not yet—so far as we can perceive—appeared, yet in fact He surrounds her, evident in the intense greens—His own color—of the fertile field through which she approaches the marriage canopy.    In the foreground we see a fountain, a symbol of Torah throughout Jewish lore. The tiles take the form of the atomic spectral lines of carbon, the element common to all forms of life on Earth. The four streams of water flowing from it allude to a concept about the differentiation of matter, suggested by the thirteenth century mystic, Ezra of Gerona.  Myrtle and myrrh bushes grow at the base of each of the huppah poles. The myrrh alludes to the pleasing scent of incense within the Temple. Myrtle branches, shown more closely in the border of the painting, represent the Shekhinah throughout Kabbalah, and has consequently decorated the synagogues and Sabbath tables of the Kabbalists.   Copyright© 2016 Debra Band

Illuminations of Shir ha'Maalot, Psalm 126, from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US without gold, or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

“On the Sabbath and festivals, it is customary to sing Psalm 126 before the Grace after Meals.  Psalm 126 is one of fifteen consecutive psalms that begin with the enigmatic heading shir hama’alot. The word ma’alot means “steps.” Jewish tradition explains the terms as meaning that these psalms were sung in the Temple by the Levites ranged on the fifteen steps that led from the Womens’ Court of the Temple to the Israelite Court. ..The psalm’s second part appears to pray for the restoration of the people from the exile, implying that the psalm was composed after the Temple was destroyed. The expression “Those who sow in tears will reap in joy” has become proverbial. After enunciating it, the psalmist concretizes it by imagining an actual person weeping as he sows, singing as he brings the harvest home, a touching image for Israel in exile and restoration.” The translation embedded in the paintings and the notes above were prepared for this project by the celebrated scholar of medieval Hebrew poetry and liturgy, Raymond P. Scheindlin.  I understand Shir Hama’alot as a reverie about the remembered exuberance of anticipating the return to Zion from exile.  Its verses use agricultural metaphors—water, precious in an arid land, and seeding—often a matter of risky guesswork–to fuse the love of Zion, its people and the land with faith in Israel’s providential God, to introduce the Grace After Meals on Sabbath and festivals.  The Hebrew and English illuminations contrast anxious and painful but nonetheless fertile exile with joyful and fruitful redemption, using the agricultural metaphors within the psalm. The illuminations fuse ancient and modern Israel by locating the two scenes in the same spot at widely different times. The columns flanking the texts present a rosette pattern adapted from a frieze from a 4th-5th century synagogue at Chorazin in the northern Galilee, now in the collection of the Israel Museum (my sketch, 2007).  The columns are topped by proto-Aeolic capitals from Ramat Rahel, near Jerusalem, dating to the late 9th century BCE, contemporary with the early Davidic dynasty.  In the Hebrew illumination, the woman is not the glorious Sabbath bride or queen, but rather the sorrowing woman Jerusalem of Lamentations and Jeremiah, mourning in the wake of exile, longing for restoration to her land. She drags the seed-bag behind her through the sunset landscape, yet in the midst of this scene of destruction, the fallen seeds sprout with promises of rebirth that she does not see.  The desert’s vernal springs tumble down a hillside, feeding the dry land with water, feeding the human realm with wisdom. Brilliant day has arrived for the English illumination, a sparkling sky and clouds promising life-giving rain in the landscape of modern Israel; as the vernal springs again flow from the same hillside, young people drive tractors through burgeoning fields and date orchards, cultivating the bounty afforded by hard work and divine providence.

Copyright© 2016 Debra Band

Introductory Illumination for Grace after Meals from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$200 US without gold or $350 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

This introductory painting for the Grace After Meals, “Birkat hamazon” thanks God for the mysterious-seeming phenomenon of life-giving food arising from inert seed and soil. Yet we now know that neither life nor soil really is inert—the introductory illumination celebrates the germination and growth of wheat from a grassroots view. We see a cross-section of young wheat germinating and growing in the soil that teems with rich minerals, microorganisms, and worms. An ant works its way across the scrub, while a honeybee, that small creature that fertilizes our food crops, climbs a wheat leaf toward the sky. The infinite cosmos and the sun’s corolla surround the humble landscape, reminding us of the common origin of all matter, of the all-suffusing presence of the Creator.   Copyright© 2016 Debra Band

Illuminations of Rabbi's Kaddish from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US without gold, or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

Kaddish had its origin as a benediction upon the students offered by a teacher at the end of a lesson. This can be seen from the fact that it is addressed to the congregation in the second person and refers to God in the third person, whereas true prayers address God in the second person and refer to the congregation, if at all, in the third person. Kaddish was transferred to the synagogue service in its function as a concluding prayer, but its use was extended so that it now concludes units within the prayer service. Over the centuries, additional petitions were added to it, with the result that there are now several versions with different functions in the service, all of them longer than the original benediction (the basis of what is now called “Half-Kaddish”). In the Middle Ages, it became customary for mourners and people observing the anniversary of the death of a close relative to recite the final Kaddish at the end of a service. But there is no reference to the dead in any version of Kaddish except the one recited at a cemetery. The person reciting Kaddish is actually wishing the congregation that they live to see the messianic era, when God’s name will be truly magnified and sanctified, in accordance with the prophecy of Ezek. 38:23.  Dr. Scheindlin has translated the word neemata as “hymns” rather than “consolations,” in accordance with the best recent scholarship on the etymology of this puzzling word. The translation embedded in the paintings and notes above were prepared for this project by the celebrated scholar of medieval Hebrew poetry and liturgy, Raymond P. Scheindlin.  The solemnity of the kaddish calls for simple treatment, yet the Rabbi’s version of the prayer draws down heaven’s blessings for the generations of Israel’s scholars—and ties Jewish community to the millennia-long scholarly and legal tradition that conveys Torah from earlier generations to the present. The micrographic borders on the Hebrew/Aramaic and English pages build imagery of Jerusalem from the opening passages of Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, which trace the chain of transmission of the Written Torah and the Oral Torah from Moses through the prophets to the rabbis.  Copyright© 2016 Debra Band

Illuminations of "My Soul is Thirsting, Tsamah Nafshi," from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification

Two illuminations presented together ready to frame in cream-colored mat, all acid-free, highest quality materials. Signed and numbered. Approx. 28″x 18″. Edition limited to 500.

$250US without gold, or $495 with hand-applied 23KT gold detailing. $25 UPS shipping within continental US. Please inquire about shipping to other destinations. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THIS ITEM

Includes commentary drawn from Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification:

The author of this Sabbath table song, Abraham Ibn Ezra, (ca. 1089–ca. 1167), was a distinguished polymath born in Tudela, Spain; in 1140, he left Spain and resided in various places in western Europe until his death. His name is found in the poem’s acrostic, Ezra being spelled with hay.  He was the author of secular and abundant liturgical poetry, besides books on astronomy, mathematics, Hebrew grammar, and philosophy, as well as commentaries on most of the books of the Bible. It is for these commentaries that he is best known today. The translation embedded in the paintings was accomplished for this project by the celebrated scholar of medieval Hebrew poetry and liturgy, Raymond P. Scheindlin.  An early morning walk along the rapids of the Potomac River following days of rainstorms inspired these paintings of the Ibn Ezra’s poem. The illuminations present the divine wisdom for which the Ibn Ezra longs revealed in the natural world. The rushing stream—an omnipresent biblical symbol of Torah, in Kabbalah, a symbol of divine wisdom—emerges from an unseen source between the strong roots of an oak tree, another allusion to the wisdom and strength of men and women immersed in Jewish life. A perfect spider’s nest hung between blades of grass expresses the precision and elegance of even the smallest creature, while an eagle plunging down toward the water reminds us of God’s providential care.  At bottom, while the waters fill a cup and transform into the wine that we bless on Shabbat, a gazelle, alluding to the love between God and Israel satisfies its thirst with the waters of divine wisdom.    Copyright© 2016 Debra Band



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