And, so it goes and comes, the cycles of existence, and here we are once more at beginnings.
I have challenged myself with a new form for this set of drawings.
They are a reflections of the Sephirot of the Kabbalah. The Kabbalah is Jewish mystical and spiritual teachings and practices. The Sephirot like chakras are the individual areas of what is called the Etz Chayim – the tree of life – and there are ten, suggested visually, into three vertical columns. Each sephirot is associated with a concept of being and the lower seven are associate with days in the week. In these drawings each circle is one of these sephirot and the images are that part of the parsha to be read on that day. So, these are like, in stained glass of old, seven images in one image. Personally, when I entered the cathedral of Chartres I was surprisingly so emotionally moved by the visual images of these stained glass images of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries where unknown artist created such strange and arresting images based on the stories of the bibles.
These seven sections of each parsha are called the Aliyahs.
Aliyah translates as “ascent” or “going up” and what happens in synagogues on Shabbos is members of the congregation go up to recite blessings over the Torah section seven times for the seven readings.
The order presented in these drawings is somewhat unexpected based on the positioning of the sephirot on the tree of life and the days associated with each of these sephirot starting with:
Rishon, the first Aliyah, read on Sunday associated with Chesed, Kindness, and its color blue, and its position is the upper right.
Sheni, the second Aliyah, read on Monday associated with the sephirot Gevura, restraint, and its color red, is in the upper left.
Shelishi, the third Aliyah, read on Tuesday, associated with Tifferet, harmony, and its color yellow, is in the upper center.
Revi’I, the fourth Aliyah, read on Wednesday, associated with Netzach, assertiveness, and its color green, is in the lower right.
Chamishi, the fifth Aliyah, read on Thursday, associated with Hod, perseverance, and its color orange, is in the lower left.
Shishi, the six Aliyah, read on Friday associated with Yesod, connection, and its color purple, is in the lower center.
Shev’’I, the seventh Aliyah, read on Shabbos associated with Malchut, mastery and its colors are a mix of the above, and I have put this in the center.
As you see here, this is the layout for each week’s parsha. On Shabbos all the sections, Aliyahs, are read out loud. In the first parsha – Beresheit – the first Aliyah contains the days of creation. I have made this separate drawing for that first Aliyah, which you will see in the next drawing is the circle in the upper right.
The above drawing shows the six days of creation. There is a fascinating challenge that on the third day the waters and plants were created, and on the fourth day all objects in the sky – the sun, the planets, the galaxies. One explanation is that this is to remind us that life is a gift from Hashem not just a result of the evolutions of the solar systems.
Note that the sixth day included the creation of the human, Adam Kadmon – the primordial likeness – and was both sexes in one being.
So, this image is to be “read” starting –
top right – Rishon – the creation of light and dark. Note the beginnings of the Sephirot here as well.
top left – Sheni – the division of the firmaments which even for the sages are hard to define as they are not waters but essences and suggest separation which is the beginnings of manifest reality created from oneness. Some say the precursors of the elements are here, so you see a fire image as well as waterish imagery.
top center – Shelishi – the creation of botany and water.
bottom right – Revi’I – the creation of the solar systems and galaxies and stars.
bottom left – Chamishi – the creation of all that swims and flies.
bottom center -Shishi – the creation of the animal kingdoms and the original human – Adam Kadmon – the primordial likeness of the creator in that the human too creates.
center center – Sehvi’i – the Hebrew word for Shabbos. The 24 hours when we can transcend the limits of physicalities.