Jewish & Chassidic Holidays

Chapters visualizing important
and Chassidic Holidays

Many of the images in this collection
have been selected from photos
of some of my abstract illusionist paintings
and videoart "converted" גיור כהלכה
and given new Judaic titles and contexts
are a kind of work-in-progress
for a future book or catalogue (if funding is found)
which will attempt to envision the Holidays
as well as sections
of Sefer Yetzira and all of the
53 Parshas of the Torah
to act as a springboard for meditation
and finding relevance and advice
regarding our individual life adventure.

Direct Link to Holidays:

#Rosh Hashanah

#Yom Kippur



#Yud Shevat


#The Ten Plagues


#Crossing the Red Sea - קריעת ים סוף

#Seudat HaMashiach


#Gimmel Tammuz

#The Three Weeks - בין המצרים

#When Tisha b’Av Occurs on the Sabbath


Receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai


mixed materials on canvas
40" x 40" (102 x 102 c

When the revelation of
the Receiving of the Torah occurred,
Mount Sinai was aflame along with
the hearts and souls
of the Jewish people.

A "mountain" in Jewish Ethics
is associated with Pride - התנשאות
a character trait
to be certainly avoided.

So Mount Sinai is thus praised
  as being a "modest"
and lowly mountain.

But if self-effacement
is the desired trait

why was Torah not given
at the Dead Sea,

the lowest place on earth.
Why on a mountain at all?
The answer is
that we need to have

a minimum amount of
 "mountain" or pride
in our personality
to have
the courage and power

to start our day in learning Torah
and performing the commandments
against our inclinations
and lazy nature.

Link to Sefer Yetzira for Sivan

The Secret of the Alef


The Letter Alef א
is the first letter of the first word
in the Ten Commandments
אָנֹכִי י-ה-ו-ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
 אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם

I am the Lord your God
who has delivered you from Egypt
(Exodus 20: 2)

The Letter Bais ב is the first letter
of Genesis
and its name means Bayis or House,
indicating God's desire to have
a habitation in this world
which he created
ex nihilo.

The Alef is the other-worldly letter
whose unique form is a diagonal
which implies transcendence
combining and beyond
the vertical line of hierarchy
and the horizontal of total equality.

alef video

The Alef is formed by two Yuds,
one to the upper right
and the other to the lower left,
 joined by a diagonal Vav.
Yud (10) + Yud (10) + Vav (6) = 26
The gematria for the name of God.
 The Yuds represent
the higher and lower waters
and the Vav is the firmament
רקיע between them
as described in
Second Day of Creation.
The transcendent Vav
has the ability to connect
and bear opposites or paradox
נושא הפכים
of the the two Yuds
heaven and earth.
fire and water,
the drive to exalt God and
yet feel one's lowliness.

What is remarkable is that
the first word
of the Ten Commandments

is of Egyptian origin,
even more so since this word
represents the Name
of God's Essence.
The Rabbis teach us that the
use of this "foreign" word here
is to show God's ultimate desire that
the Torah descend to and transform
the lowest possible levels of reality.
even to the depraved culture
of the Egyptians and
  its modern day continuation
in our hedonistic world.


The Mask and the Reality


acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
23 1/2" x 36" (60 x 91 cm)

וְאָנֹכִי הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר פָּנַי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא
"I will doubly conceal My Face that day"
(Deut 31: 18)

When we transgress,
G-d seemingly masks his presence,
such as during the period
of Purim and Esther

  The name אסתר Esther is cognate
with the verb אסתיר I will conceal

We also put upon ourselves a mask
pretending that there is
no consequence to our misdeeds.
Doing repentance תשובה
removes the mask

and we can see face-to-face
that everything is spiritual energy -
the deep secret of the Purim holiday.


Turn-arounds - נהפוך הוא

One of the important lessons
of the
Purim story is that events
and experiences get unexpectedly
turned around and what was on top
is now on the bottom with a
completely different perspective

This idea finds visual expression
in many of my paintings
which when turned upside down
reveal a surprisingly new
form and dimension:
the protruding becoming
the recessive and vice versa

            Masculine and Feminine Waters


   The triangular form or vector
pointing upward 
represents what is called by the kabbalah 
the "feminine waters" מיין נוקבין
the movement or aspiration from below 
to reach a spiritual height,
such as in prayer. 

Turning the painting upside down


With the triangular form or vector
pointing downward
  transforms it to the
"masculine waters" מיין דוכרין
the vector of bringing spiritual energy 
 into the "vessels"
of the mundane world.


A deeper explanation of above may be
found within
Iggeret HaKodesh
Epistle 28 of the Tanya

         See also the Secret of the Signet Ring

            Other examples at the following link:

Rectifying the KUF קוף Monkey

The Hebrew letter which permeates ADAR

     is the KUF קוף
  which means monkey
  or holy "monkeying around"
   such as inducing laughter
during the Purim festivities
as suggested
in the video art below:

The KUF is composed
of a RAISH ר

and an elongated ZION ז

is rather unstable, even "tipsy"
connecting to the requirement
to get spiritually drunk on Purim

חייב איניש לבסומי עד דלא ידע

One must drink to the state of
"beyond knowing

which might have been realized in
in the surrealistic video clip below:


Parshat Zachur Remembering Amalek - עֲמָלֵק

acrylics on canvas  26" x 62" - 66 x 158 cm

זָכוֹר אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק

בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם
אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ

Remember what Amalek did to you
on your journey from Egypt
How they surprised
(cooled you off) on the road.

(Deut 25: 17-18)

Amalek "cooled off"
אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ
the ardour of the Jewish people

after their Delivery from Egypt
causing them to doubt
ספק = עמלק = 240
all the miracles
of Divine Providence

This section is read in the
Sabbath before Purim
to remind us
of our long-standing metaphysical
battle with Amalek and his
descendents to this very day
with the "beyond knowing" of Purim
being the antidote and tikkun.

Yud Shevat
Yud (the 10th) Shevat (1950)
marks the histalkus
or "passing away"

of the Previous Rebbe
of the Chabad movement

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson OBM
and the beginning
one year later

of the leadership of his successor,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson


         mixed material on canvas 25" x 39"


It is also noteworthy
that according to Sefer Yetzira
the Hebrew Letter Tzadi(k) צ
    the 18th (Chai) letter
of the alphabet

   deeply permeates
   the month of Shevat
   and symbolizes the Zaddik,
the holy spiritual leader.
   It is actually
composed of two letters:

  the letter YUD י "injecting" itself
into the back
  of the bent-over "fallen" NUN נ
  (the letter symbolizing
  the Churban - the Destruction)
   to revive and revitalize our lives,
as may be seen in video art below.


In Chabad teachings
this has special significance
on YUD (the 10th) Shevat,
the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe,
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson OBM
who was the YUD - the YID
that revived the fallen Jewry
from the Holocaust and prepared us
for the coming of the Moshiach.

The Rebbe would always
make a special chassidic gathering
called Farbrengen commemorating
Yud Shevat and below is a video art
interpretation of this event
that occurred over thirty years ago. 

The special effects 
and evocative narrative track 
attempt to render
the vast excitement 

and spiritual energy
that was generated 

during this gathering.


In three parts on YouTube:

Part One


The relationship of chassid to the Rebbe
and the efficacy of Blessing.

Part Two


A short discourse by the Rebbe
on the Previous Rebbe's teachings.

Part Three


 A finale of chassidic nigun or songs
with the Rebbe's active participation.  

The Lights of Chanukah

light 1light 7light 8

  A Lamp of G-d Is a Man's Soul:

Video Kabbalah Meditations
on the Lights of Chanukah
in eight modules of 4-5 minutes
for a total of 36 minutes.
A video art composition based on
special effects and feedback interface
with the actual burning lights
of the Chanukah menorah
but having an artistic
and universal relevance
not restricted
to the Jewish holiday alone
or a Jewish audience.
Some low definition samples
from the composition
(with a sound track)
 are available on YouTube:

The First Light (Binah בינה)

The Second Light (Chesed חסד) :


The Fourth Light (Tiferet תפארת) :

The Seventh Light (Yesod יסוד) :


The Eighth Light (Malchut מלכות) :


An important source of inspiration
Kabbalah teachings
about the "lights"
relating them to the Sefirot
or emanations of the soul. 

Each of the modules

is constructed
with a special
color scheme and visual dance
which correlates to ideas
about the specific Sefirot.

Light 8 
   Light 7       Yesod 
Light 6 
Light 5 
Light 4

Light 3
Light 2 
  Light 1

"Missing" from the above chart
are two Sefirot to make the classic
Etz Chaim model of Ten Sefirot.

The Ninth Sefira is the Shamash or candle
that kindles all the other lights
but it alone is not "counted"
representing the more
ineffable Chachmah or Wisdom.
The Tenth Sefira
represents Keter or Crown
 and is the unseen Light
that hovers over and surrounds
the people celebrating the holiday.

An added input is a meditation
suggested by the great Safad kabbalist
of the 15th century, the Holy Ari (Luria),
which is to visualize in the flames
upon lighting the candles each night

as a marriage or "zivug"
of the letter nun נ in the Shamash,

with each of the last eight letters
of the Hebrew alphabet:
the First Night 
נ-ס Miracle
the Second Night 
נ-ע Moving
and so on until we
reach the Eighth Night ת-נ Giving.

All of the eight consecutive
combinations make
(sometimes in reverse order)
a two-letter word in Hebrew
(itself a very rare occurrence).

Somehow these two letter "words"
do mysteriously appear
in the modules and not because
of any premeditation on my part.
Hebrew Explanation -  עברית

The daily Torah readings for Chanukah
are taken from the offerings of the Princes
of the the Twelve Tribes for the חנוכת המשכן
the dedication
ceremony of the Mishkan
(Numbers 7: 10-88)

The Names of Ten of these Tribes are also
inscribed in the gem stones of the Kho-shen
the Breastplate of the High Priest


airbrush/acrylic on canvas on 12 mounted canvases:
62" x 48" (158 x 122 cm)

More information at

The Names of the Twelve Tribes in the Kho-shen

(During the Dedication,
The Names of Levi and Joseph were replaced

by the Tribes of Efraiyim and Menashe)


airbrush / acrylic on canvas
diptych 16” x 32” (40 x 80 cm)


The Hug


acrylics on canvas
36" x 28" (92 x 71 cm)

One of the most profound
Sukkot meditations

is that entering its spiritual space
to experience being "hugged"
by the Shechina - שכינה

the Divine Presence.
On Rosh HaShanah
we were "back-to-back"
with God,
looking in opposite directions.

Our prayers and supplications
  during the following two weeks
caused a mutual turn around
and we could then face each other
and embrace in love and joy.

The Kiss

the kiss
acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
23" x 17" (59 x 44 cm)

The Love increases in intensity
on Hoshanah Rabah
during which one of the Four Species,
the Willow Leaf
(which has the shape of a mouth)
is an important part of the service


and symbolizes the state of kissing

as expressed in the Song of Songs:
יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ
Let Him kiss me
with the kisses of His mouth


acrylics on canvas
30" x 30"  (76 x 76 cm) 

To be "kissed by God"
is to receive a chassidic insight
on the words of the Torah.
This process reaches a climax
on Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah
when Israel and the Shechina
achieve a complete unity.
Check this Link
for more information.


Rosh HaShanah

mixed materials (including shofar) on canvas
23" x 37 1/2" (60 x 95 cm)

The Ram that was sacrificed in place of Isaac 
(from the Torah portion for Rosh HaShanah)
was a special creature designated 
at the time of Creation.
From it was made one horn or
that was heard
at Mount Sinai.
The second horn will be heard 

at the advent of Moshiach (the Messiah).
וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִתָּקַע בְּשׁוֹפָר גָּדוֹל
It will be on that (appointed) day
a tremendous Shofar

will be blown (Isaiah 27:13) 
May we hear it this coming Year!

The Eye of Providence


acrylics on canvas with reflecting marble
33" x 33" (84 x 84 cm)

תָּמִיד עֵינֵי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ
מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה

"The Eyes of HaShem your G-d
are continually upon

(the Land of Israel)
from the beginning of the year

until the end of the year" (Deut 11: 12)
The Eyes refers to the
special Divine Providence upon

the Land always protecting it
and enabling us

to experience this in our daily lives.

The Hebrew word above: מֵרֵשִׁית

(from the beginning)
is missing the letter א in the middle

and not the way

the first word of the Torah: בראשית
(in the beginning) is written:

emphasizing the Hebrew word: ראש

Rosh, the Head
and of course Rosh HaShana.

Indeed בראשית contains the letters א+ב תשרי

the two days of Rosh HaShana.


The word מֵרֵשִׁית suggests the

Hebrew word רש (extremely poor!)

and the Midrash teaches us

that just before Rosh HaShana

we are poor and deficient until

we hear the blast of the Shofar

and then the letter א jumps out

to change the רש to ראש,

giving us a new Rosh or Head

for the coming year

with the expanded consciousness

to truly experience

the Divine Providence in our lives.

Yom Kippur

"Futurist" Kaparot Erev Yom Kippur

mixed materials on canvas
30" x 40" (76 x 102 cm)

It is an ancient custom the night before Yom Kippur
to pass a rooster three times over one's head 
as a surrogate sacrifice.


During this ceremony we should
envision that what is being done
to the rooster should have been done to us
and with God's Grace we are
exonerated on Day of Judgement.

Another More Sardonic Kaparot Version

airbrushed acrylics on canvas
  24" x 18" (61 x 46 cm)

  A Kaparot Meditation
from Old (1967) Resurrected 8mm Films
on YouTube


  When Tisha b’Av
Occurs on the Sabbath

Quality Poster: Image size 18" x 12 1/2" (46 x 32 cm).
Signed by the artist.

Our Sages teach
that Moshiach (Messiah)
was born
(or will be born)
on Tisha b’Av.

(Jerus Talmud, Berachos 2:4;
Eichah Rabbah 1:51)

As a metaphor we can view
the Churban

(The Destruction of the Temple

and other tragic events
in Jewish history)

that occurred on this day
as the “birthpangs”
of a pregnant woman

חבלי משיח preceding birth.

לפום צערא אגרא
According to the
intensity of the pain,

so is the greatness
of the reward,
the Ultimate Redemption.

In a practical view,
because of the Fast,

this day is a great stimulus for
hastening the birth process
and G-d willing
there will be born

many thousands of “potential”
Moshiach candidates this year.

Another possible interpretation
of above Midrash is that
the Moshiach will be conceived
the Ninth of Av,
which is impossible,

because of the stringent
on cohabitation,

it occurs on the Sabbath.

Then we are enjoined
to celebrate the day with
tremendous joy and simcha,

since all signs of mourning
are canceled.

And since it is such a high period,
it is surely an auspicious time
for fertility and conception,
especially if we can
direct our thoughts

to elevate the so-called “animal act”
into something more sublime
and even transcendental.
This is what I have tried to convey
in the Visual Amulet for Fertility
and other works

Tikun: The Three Weeks
 בֵּין הַמְּצָרִים

acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
19" x 37" (48 x 94 cm)

Stones on Fire –
Transcendental Textures of

the Western Wall
and the Flames of L’ag B’omer

From a series of paintings inspired
by extreme close-up views of the
unique texture of the Kotel
or Western Wall,
its rock surfaces “married”
to the
from the L’ag B’omer bonfires,

revealing countless visages and faces,
as if the Kotel itself
acts as a spiritual camera
“photographing” its millions of visitors.

Originally created during
the Three Weeks of Mourning
for the Destruction of the Temple
בֵּין הַמְּצָרִים
(“between the dire straits”)

and other painful events
in Jewish history.

The paintings, however, do not
emanate depression and sadness.
The Stones on Fire here
are actually burning

with the spirit of
Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai,

who was on such an exalted level,
he did not “experience” the Destruction
and hint at the prophecy of
Zecharia (2:9):

 וַאֲנִי אֶהְיֶה לָּהּ נְאֻם יְהוָה חוֹמַת אֵשׁ סָבִיב
 וּלְכָבוֹד אֶהְיֶה בְתוֹכָהּ

Thus saith the L-rd:
I will be a (Protective)

Wall of Fire Around (Jerusalem)
and My Glory will be within it.

My Dove in the Cleft of the Rock
יוֹנָתִי בְּחַגְוֵי הַסֶּלַע

 acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
18" x 24" (46 x 61 cm)
In  the center of the painting one may see
the form of an angelic Dove, suggesting
the title phrase from the Song of Songs (2:14)
The Dove symbolizes the Jewish people
finding shelter from
its many predators and enemies
by clinging to the Rock of Faith

The Women’s Gallery


acrylics & mixed materials on canvas
18" x 24" (46 x 61 cm)

In this painting one can discover
various emerging faces or visages of women,
as if the Wall itself has recorded 
and absorbed its many female visitors, 
whose prayers are always heard,
because they come 
from the innermost recesses of the heart.

Other paintings at LINK

Reflections on Gimmel Tammuz


This is the day
of the histalkus – the passing away

of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, OBM.
It is also
  an extraordinary day
in the annals of the Tanach,

for on this day
Joshua in the midst of his battle

with the Amorites
ordered the Sun to
 stop in its track

24 hours to facilitate the victory.
(Joshua 10:13-14)

וַיַּעֲמֹד הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בַּחֲצִי הַשָּׁמַיִם,
וְלֹא-אָץ לָבוֹא כְּיוֹם תָּמִים.

וְלֹא הָיָה כַּיּוֹם הַהוּא,
לְפָנָיו וְאַחֲרָיו, לִשְׁמֹעַ יְהוָה, בְּקוֹל אִישׁ

There was never a day
before or after,

that G-d (or the Sun) would listen
to the voice of a mere mortal
(at least to the extent of changing
the immutable laws of astronomy)!
We know the miraculous efficacy
of any Zaddik’s prayer and blessing
for health and other needs
of his followers

and as attested
by the countless encounters

people have had with the Rebbe.
But apparently for this
to occur again

on a cosmic scale,
like it did with Joshua,

we will have to wait until
the revealed coming
of the Moshiach,

who will control the climate
and the world

with the utterance of his mouth.
However, since each of us
is a “world in miniature” – עולם קטן,
the private miracles
we have experienced

with the Rebbe
can be a hint as to the future.
I and my deceased wife,
Yael Avi-Yonah OBM,
are artists inspired by the Rebbe
and you are invited to see
the samples of our work at


Preparing for Seudat HaMashiach


mixed materials on canvas 27" x 20 " (70 x 50 cm)

The Messiah is often represented
by the final MEM ם

in the Hebrew alphabet,
which appears WITHIN
a word only in the

messianic passage in Isaiah 9:6:
לםרבה המשרה ולשלום
אין קץ על כסא דוד ועל ממלכתו

"That the reign may be increased,
and of peace there be no end,
upon the throne of David,
and upon his kingdom"

as if it was a a typographic "error".

The final MEM ם looks like a lid
on a three-sided BAIT ב.

The Messiah will "put the lid"
on the BAIT ב,

which is the first letter of
Creation and the Bible,

closing all four sides
into a holy cube
of infinite revelation.

One of the names of Mashiach
is Menachem מנחם
which ends with a final MEM

Crossing the Red Sea - קריעת ים סוף

red sea

acrylics on canvas 10 1/2" x 16" (27 x 40 cm)

The Biblical story of
the Crossing of the Red Sea

is explained by the Rabbis
to be a prophetic
achieved by the entire Israel nation.

The Sea,
which is the hidden domain,
a solid or revealed dimension

without the accompanying
contractions and
that this process
 usually demands.

The "story" also contains
the 72 three letter

words of divinity,
as revealed by the Zohar

generated by combinning
three consecutive sentences,
each uniquely made up of 72 letters.
(Exodus 14: 19-21)



acrylics on canvas  40" x 40"  (102 x 102 cm)

According to kabbalah sources,
the Crossing of the Red Sea process
is analogous to being born,
the water of the

embryo sac bursts
and what is revealed

is the solid, the crying child
entering a new and challenging reality.

The embryonic state
is likened to the Galut.

פֶּה-לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ
אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יַאֲזִינוּ אַף אֵין יֶש רוּחַ בְּפִיהֶם

They have a mouth but cannot speak.
They have eyes but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear.
They have a nose but cannot smell.
(Psalms 135: 16-17)
The above phrase obviously refers to
the futility of idol worship,
but its inner context relates to
the Galut of the Mind when we are
not realizing our full spiritual potential
because of our worship
of our own ego idol.

Crossing the Red Sea was a necessary
mind-opening precondition
for receiving the Torah at Sinai,
when the Israelites experienced
total synaesthesia:
וְכָל הָעָם רֹאִים אֶת הַקּוֹלֹת
And all the people saw the voices.
(Exodus 14:14)

Pesach - Passover

Voyage into the Matza Interior


שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצּוֹת

"Six days you should eat matzas"
(Deut 16: 8)
An extended comparison of the "round"
hand-kneaded matza and the full moon.

Extreme close-ups
of the matza texture
turn into a remarkable "lunar"

and even otherworldly landscape
replete with crevices
and craggy mountains.

The micro becomes
the macro and vice versa.
With a modern music
(electronic & flute) track,

which gives it a special ambience.
It even has the sound of the artist
munching noisily on a matza.

Some low definition samples
from the video
with a "stream of consciousness"
sound track
are available on YouTube below:

1. Part One:

2. Part Two:

3. Part Three:

Press here for more information

The Ten Plagues

An important part in Seder HaGada ceremony
is to interpret and "internalize" the Ten Plagues
and make them relevant to our lives.

The Ten Plagues can be interpreted according
 to the classical Ten Sefirot model in reverse.
Seven Plagues from Parshat Va'eiraוארא 
from Malchut to Chesed
(the modalities of the emotions)
Three from  Parshat Bo - בא
from Bina to Keter.
(the modalities of the intellect and beyond).

The Plagues come to attack and rectify
the bad and evil energies trapped
in the Ten Sefirot of Impurity
by Pharoah in Hebrew פרעה
whose letters can spell הערף
"the back of the neck"
and certainly apply to our own
יצר הרע or evil inclinations,
which is why we are called
"a stiff-necked people"
כִּי עַם קְשֵׁה עֹרֶף אַתָּה
(Exodus 33:3)
still dominated by the
mind sets and mental slavery
of Mitzrayim and the Galut.

The First Plague - Blood  - דָם - Malchut

airbrushed acrylics on canvas
30" x 40" (76 x 102 cm)

The belief that Nature
(especially the Nile River)
can be controlled and "engineered"
 embodied the source of the Egyptian
arrogant confidence and security
and was therefore deified
as a power in and of itself
and revered as the very source of life.
The bloody "slaughter" of this concept
opened up the pagan mind
to the presence of a Higher Master.

This arrogance can also apply to those
fine liberal people יפי נפש
who love to imagine they are drinking
from the cool clear intellectual waters
of a creed of humanism without God.
The plague reveals the "bluff"
of what is really behind all this -
their hot blood of anger,
particularly with whoever
disagrees with them.


The Second Plague -

Frogs - צְפַרְדֵעַ -  Yesod

havdalah #2

airbrushed acrylics on canvas
17" x 35"  (44 x 89 cm)

The plague of the Frogs
attempted to rectify

the fallen sephira of Yesod
caused by the

the debauched habits
of the Egyptians.

The frogs' cold slimy bodies
covered every inch
of the land and entered their houses
and even the bedrooms,
cooling off their lust and sexual ardour
which was their raison d'etre.

The Third Plague -
Lice - כִּנִים -
  Hod (Acknowledge)


mixed materials on canvas
40" x 40" (102 x 102 cm)

When the plague of the dust
turning into lice occurred,
all of the magicians acknowledged
that it was the “Finger of G-d”

אצבע אלו-הים
since regular magic can not affect
such small creatures,
whereas Divine Providence
is in every aspect of creation.
The acknowledgement
of God's mastery
is the beginning
of spiritual service
and should induce
a positive humility
that even if we are like dust
before Him,

we are still with Him.
  But for the now
ego-deflated Egyptians

the dust turned into lice
causing a deep depression,
  a pseudo humility which sucks out
a person's blood, depriving him
of his vitality and energy-flow


The Fourth Plague -
Mixture of Wild Animals - 
-  Netzach

airbrushed acrylics on canvas
27 1/2" x 36" (79 x 92 cm)

The fourth plague
to harass the Egyptians

consisted of hordes of wild animals
and also snakes and scorpions
roving all over the country,
and destroying everything in their path.
That they attacked
in a "coordinated" way
like a disciplined army
was a tikun or rectification
to the Egyptian's evil Netzach 
which attempts
to achieve Victory at all costs
by deceitfully "orchestrating" the events.
The Jewish use of Netzach נצח
is suggested
in many of the Psalms which begin
with the words: לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר

A prayer by the Conductor Orchestrator


The Fifth Plague -
Pestilence - 
דֶּבֶר -  Tiferet (Mercy)

 acrylics on canvas

The fifth plague
was a severe epidemic
on the cattle in the field,
but came with a prior warning, showing
the amelioration of judgement
with mercy and
the Egyptians who complied were spared.
Only those who did not were punished.
יַד י-ה-ו-ה ה-וֹיָה בְּמִקְנְךָ
(Exodus 9:3)
Behold the Hand of God is on your cattle

This is hinted that
the merciful name of
was changed to its permutation ה-וֹיָה
which is associated
according to Sefer Yetzira

with the month of Menachem Av,
the month of severe judgement.

The Sixth Plague -

Boils -  שְּׁחִין -  Gevurah


mixed materials on canvas
24" x 18" (61 x 46 cm)

The plague of boils, unlike the others,
came without a mitigating warning
and applied to all of the Egyptians
wherever they were and
who were made numb from the pain.
indicating a terrible gevurah or severity
from which very few recovered.
That is why we must pray daily to be
protected from debilitating illnesses
which put us into a condition
where we are unable to beg
for salvation.

The Seventh Plague -

Hail -  בָּרָד - Chesed


polymer emulsions on canvas
  27 1/2" x 19 1/2" (70 x 50 cm)

The plague of Hail בָרָד
was strongly aligned with Chesed
since the Egyptians were given
a day's warning

to secure their livestock
in shelters beforehand.

Any man or beast
left in the open would die.

The Hail was quite
miraculous and destructive
in that within the large icy balls
burned a blazing flame,
the normally opposing elements of
Fire and Water now working together. 
וַיְהִי בָרָד וְאֵשׁ מִתְלַקַּחַת בְּתוֹךְ הַבָּרָד

(Exodus 9:34)
Many of the Egyptians
followed the warning,
but this was ultimately
applied against Israel,
since the surviving horses were used
with Pharoah's chariots
to attack the Israelites
at the encounter by the Red Sea.

There is also a lesson for us
with regards
to the "selective" destruction
of the plants: only those with strong
unbending stems or trunks
were destroyed,
 by contrast what survived
were the supple and flexible
(a trait of tsuvah and repenting).

The Eighth Plague -
Locusts - אַרְבֶּה
-  Bina


polymer emulsions on canvas
  27 1/2" x 19 1/2" (70 x 50 cm)

"And the locusts went up
over all the land of Egypt
and they chewed up all the plants"
(Exodus 10: 13-15)
Chewing and processing
our received phenomena
is a kabbalah analogy
to the sephira of Bina -

This is the ability
of intellectual inquiry:
the approach of the Talmud.
It allows us to explore the universe,
improve our lives and discover
the higher moral calling
of the human family.
Yet the very same power may
serve as a tool to rationalize
every evil practiced
under the face of the sun,
and to justify
every destructive lifestyle or habit.
leaving in its wake
a desolate society
"The Wasteland"
bereft of spiritual values
and absolute principles.

The Ninth Plague -

acrylics on canvas
37" x 37"  (94 x 94 cm)

There was a thick darkness
in all the land of Egypt three days;
they saw not one another,
nor rose any from his place;
but all the children of Israel
had Light in their dwellings.
(Exodus 10: 21-24)

The Light in the Darkness (of the Mind)
is a kabbalah analogy
to the sephira of Chachma- חכמה

This can be understood as the ability
to accept new ideas and concepts
that emerge unexpectedly
from the supra-conscious.
The arrogant Egyptians
(and with them
many "assimilated" Jews)
with their fixed mindsets
could not change
and accept a new input
and thus remained in the darkness.

The Tenth Plague -

The First Born - בכורות - Keter


airbrushed acrylics on canvas
40" x 30" (102 x 76 cm)

This terrible plague can be understood
the basic Biblical context of
"measure for measure" מידה כנגד מידה
(How you mistreat others,
so will be the retribution.)

God declared that "Israel is My first-born"

(Exodus 4:22) בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל
Yet Pharaoh wished to enslave them
 for all eternity, thus it is fitting
that God would punish him by killing
all of Egypt's first-born sons.

After the Tenth Plague
the Israelites were commanded

to celebrate Passover - Pesach
eating the pascal lamb

and the matzas, the unleavened bread
to prepare for delivery from Egypt

וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת הַמַּצּוֹת כִּי בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה
 הוֹצֵאתִי אֶת צִבְאוֹתֵיכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם

And you shall observe the feast
of the unleavened bread
for in this very day
I have brought your hosts
out of the land of Egypt.
(Exodus  12: 17)

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