- The significance of the Hebrew language in Judaism
Men of the Great Assembly established the order of prayers used to
this day. Among other things, we tell G-d: “You chose us from
every people and language.” The Sages explain that out of sheer
persistence, the Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish people never abandoned their
- Origin of the Hebrew alphabet
is called Holy Tongue (Lashon HaKodesh), in which because – our
Sages tell us – it is the language in which G-d Himself created the
the language is very ancient, for very important reasons, the writing
of the alphabet changed throughout history, differing when the Jewish
People were settled in Israel during the period of the First Temple
in Jerusalem, changing during the Babylonian and Persian Exiles,
changing again during the Second Temple period in Israel and
Babylonia, and finally assuming its current form during the Roman
Exile that continues to this day.
and during the period of Egyptian slavery, when the Ancient Egyptian
Pharaoh and his henchmen first sought to absorb and then attempted to
totally subjugate the Jews in backbreaking slavery, the Jewish
People’s stalwart adherence to their ancient tongue – Hebrew –
was one of the three factors that prevented assimilation and
destruction of peoplehood. (the others were that the Jewish People
kept their dress and their traditional names).
- Facts about the Hebrew language
letter, and each configuration of multiple letters, contains within
it layers of deeper meanings. Each Hebrew letter and letter
combination also has layers of numerological meanings as well. Thus,
Hebrew is indeed a deep and beautiful language.
- Role of Hebrew alphabet in the art
Menucha Page has abstract pieces, in her various works the Hebrew
letters play a central role and confer deeper meaning on her work .
Menucha ties the deeper meanings of the letters to the art itself,
thus harnessing ancient wisdom to modern artistic techniques.
- Difference between an ancient and modern Jewish art
of the ancient Jewish art has been lost. It is said that Betzalel,
who crafted the beautiful ritual objects for the Mishkan (Tabernacle)
in the Wilderness, later taken and incorporated into the Temple in
Jerusalem, was above all a Torah scholar, understanding the Hidden
Torah that allowed him to tie Heaven and Earth to one another. With
the long Roman Exile, the Jewish People devoted their artistic
techniques into lovely illuminated holy works, such as the Pesach
Haggadas that emerged from every corner of the Diaspora. In
addition, they lovingly crated the objects and fixtures of their
Synagogues and Study Halls.
art was also influenced by the non-Jewish culture surrounding them,
most signfiicantly in the development of artistic techniques. Thus,
for example, the Moroccan Jewish art differs markedly from German
Jewish art. The Jewish sections of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem
reflects these cultural differences.
there are traditional themes that repeat themselves quite often –
the Jewish marital canopy (Chuppah), dancing Chassidim, the faces of
great Rabbinical figures, etc.
Page seeks to bring contemporary techniques back to the ancient
themes of the Torah, and her works are quite unique in that synergy
on today’s Jewish and Torah art scenes.
- Where can you find Jew values imbibed contemporary Israeli art?
Contemporary Israeli art varies tremendously, some of it not containing particularly Jewish themes, but rather universal and universalist themes (sadness, alienation, love, etc.). More traditional art in Israel often focuses on beloved Holy sites in the Land of Israel, or scenes of Jewish weddings, learning Torah, etc. This has become a popular genre among Torah observant Jews the world over.
contemporary mixed media works, incorporating painting, drawing,
plastic arts, and photography together with ancient Jewish themes and
subject matter is still rare.