Emor (Leviticus 21-24 )
"Counting," 2014-2015, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 120 cm.
You shall count for yourselves from the morrow of the rest day, from the day you bring the Omer as a wave offering, seven complete weeks. You shall count until the day after the seventh Sabbath, [namely,] the fiftieth day, [on which] you shall bring a new meal offering to God. (Leviticus 23:15-16)
The seven-week progression from Passover until Shavuot (known as Counting the Omer) is symbolized in the painting by seven pairs of white candles. This represents the time the Jews spent in the desert after leaving Egypt until they received the Torah on Mount Sinai. The ivory candles ascend upward, in contrast to the dark, shadowy people, who stream into the depth of the luminescent landscape.
The holiday of Shavuot not only marks the conclusion of the weeks of counting the Omer, but also celebrates the wheat harvest. When the Holy Temple stood, the people thronged toward Jerusalem (suggested in the painting by arches), bringing their first offering from the new wheat crop. The painting captures the radiance of the multitude moving though fields of golden grain to celebrate the holiday. Though we no longer have a Temple and offerings, we still count seven Sabbaths from Passover until Shavuot, allowing this ritual to come alive for us even today.