> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Art of Revelation

Scouting the Land


Shlach (Numbers 13-15 )

by Yoram and Meira Raanan


"Scouting the Land," 2014, acrylic on canvas, 50 x 140 cm.

God spoke to Moses saying: "Send out men for yourself... who will scout the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Children of Israel..." (Numbers 13:1-2)

Painted on two canvases, this abstract rendition of the spies going out to scout the "Good Land" captures the depth and breadth of the Land as well as the movement and progression of their reconnaissance mission: the horizontal lines in the painting suggesting successive horizons.

The colors convey the fruity, fertile feeling of the Land -"flowing with milk and honey"? as well as a darker, more sinister aspect, which the spies project on the Land when they later describe it as a place that "eats its inhabitants." As perceived by the spies, the Land has an overpowering atmosphere, with thick and heavy fruits, and high and mighty nations who will prove an insurmountable obstacle to conquest.

The landscape is framed by two robust red trees. Perhaps these trees represent Joshua and Caleb who alone stood strong in their faith and their positive assessment of the Land, encouraging the people to forge ahead.

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