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trees

Imaginary Tree

For this painting I used many layers of watered-down acrylic paint.  Unlike my picture Ancient Olive Tree, this one is not based on a real tree.

2010
Acrylic on paper
50 x 60 cm

The Wheel of Life

The fractal trees in this poster represent the Ten Sefirot of the kabbalistic Tree of Life.  Each tree has three branches that then branch and into three smaller branches - a total of nine, and with the trunk of the tree, ten.  Fractals are forms that are self-similar on different scales.  How many trees are here?  There are eighteen complete trees in the three larger wheels. Eighteen is the gematria (number value) of the Hebrew word for Life Chai חי.

Transcending and Including

Fractals are forms that are self-similar on different scales - like the nine-branched trees in this picture.  Notice how the branches of each fractal tree are similar to the shape of the Hebrew letter ש  Shin. The letter Shin, which is comprised of three vertical lines, represents Fire, which moves upward, or ‘transcendence’.
 

Tree of Life

Life is a dynamic process of balancing between extremes - between hot and cold, between activity and rest, between expanding outward and contracting inward. When it's cold, we seek Fire to warm ourselves up.  When it's hot, we look for Water to cool ourselves down.

The lower half of this picture shows the root system of a Tree, resting in the cool, wet Earth.

Orchard of the Torah








The Torah is sometimes called an orchard. 
In Hebrew this is פרדס Pardess.  
Like an orchard, the deeper one enters into it,
the sweeter the fruit. 



Four levels of Torah knowledge
(that correspond to Four Worlds) are depicted here
in four concentric rings. 


These are hinted at in
the four Hebrew letters of the word .פרדס

 

Grove of Olive Trees

There is a small grove of ancient olive trees outside of Zefat.  It is about a fifteen-minute walk from my house, after two or three hairpin turns on the dirt road that goes down to Wadi Amud.  I used to like to sit in this grove surrounded by these ancient trees and meditate or study Kabbalah.  These trees were certainly here when Rabbi Isaac Luria was in Zefat in the 16th Century, and maybe he sat and taught his students under these very same trees.
 

A Tree Of Life For Those Who Hold It

The above words from Proverbs 3:18 are written in the grey Hebrew letters around the circle.  The Kabbalah is associated with the Tree of Life.  It teaches us how to connect to our souls and thus live forever.
 
The two fiery figures in this picture represent the 2nd Century kabbalist Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai; and the 16th Century kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria.