Blessed and Cursed
Re'eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 )
"Blessed and Cursed," 2015, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 130 cm.
Behold, this day I set before you a blessing and a curse... When God, your Lord, brings you to the land which you will inherit, you shall pronounce the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. (Deuteronomy 11:26,29)
Mount Gerizim was fertile and lush with greenery and Mount Ebal was a barren, bleak rock. (And they are still so to this day.) When we are aligned with goodness, goodness flows down; when we fail to connect with the Source of blessing, we and our land cannot thrive.
In the painting, too, there is a striking contrast between the mountains. On the right, Mount Gerizim is stippled in joyful colors with green predominating, like fruitful terraces. Vertical strokes of white and yellow depict descending rays of blessing and peace; a golden light seems to be percolating down from the clouds. On the other side, Mount Ebal is arid: the earth is a rich, deep burnt sienna, but the tones in this part of the painting do not suggest life. The strokes are horizontal, indicating our disconnection from transcendence. No rays of blessing descend from the sky; instead a few murky clouds lower, like the blight of our misdeeds which the land absorbs.