> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Art of Revelation

Menorah Spreading Light

Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10 )

by Yoram and Meira Raanan

"Menorah Spreading Light," 2015, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm.

You shall command the Children of Israel that they bring you pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always…it shall be a statute forever throughout their generations on behalf of the Children of Israel. (Exodus 27:20-21)

Over many generations, the Menorah has remained for us a symbol of the everlasting light. Here, the Menorah captures the spirit of light expanding and spreading, evolving into a many-faceted tree.

Dr. Michael Chighel writes of this painting: "The Menorah gives way to the many colors of light refracted in crystalline patterns in every direction. The Menorah itself is no longer visible. But one knows it is there because the scintillations are faithful to the geometric form of their light source and thus multiply the hidden form."

According to the Kabbalistic book, Bahir, the essence of the Menorah and its lights is in the sphere of Binah (intuitive understanding) which is likened to a "palace of mirrors" that reflects and multiplies the pure light of Chochmah, the flow of insight and holy inspiration. We can sense the inspired flow in the expanding and spreading movement of paint, which creates the impression of multiple menorahs and trees.

In the beginning, this canvas was dark-brown and gold. Raanan sensed the Menorah within the darkness and carved it out with blues and greens. Dripping drops of white and yellow paint gave it sparks of light that brought it to life. He then began dabbing the canvas with quick movements of the tip of a brush. If we look closely, we can almost see the bristles. He then added white candles that reflect and multiply the light. Warm gold tones emanate and shimmer into cool blues of the celestial heavens, as the Menorah's delightful light penetrates the cracks of our souls.

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