Art for the soul

The Holtzbergs

This painting was made with the verse “ I will give rain in its proper time” in mind. The verse is found in the second paragraph of the Shema prayer.

Gd says in the passage that if we follow his ways we will benefit and get rain in its proper time. But how could this be with the Holtzbergs? This was their plot of land, their rain, their blessings? Said Moses when he was shown a vision of the Romans slowly torturing the great sage Rabbi Akiva to death- Zot haTorah v’zot ha’schar? This is the Torah and this is the reward?

November 26, 2008.

Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were Chabad emissaries sent to Mumbai, India to settle down there for the rest of their lives and make their home the center of Jewish life in the area. Running a hostel, offering weekly meals to the community, managing a synagogue, mikvah…Complete dedication and sacrifice.

November 26, 2008 -

Pakistani Islamic terrorists surround their building and take them hostage. They are found murdered two days later, their 2 year old son Moshe escapes alive.

Zot haTorah v’zot ha’schar? This is the Torah and this is its reward?

As humans, we search for meaning. We demand the rain we deserve for our efforts, we get bothered as we look at our neighbors’ plot of land, and we search for evidence of the divine plan, design in what appears as random chaos. Even though the colors appear chaotic and random, the grid creates a definite order, subtly proclaiming the master plan behind their lives and existence.

The Holtzbergs are depicted in this painting as outlined figures, with the shadow of their existence, imprints and effects of their life in this world. They stand proudly, fighting the spiritual battle that demands acknowledgement of the order and design of the Great Architect. It is what they are meant as imprints in this world to teach us,to mold us. Through understanding our own plot of land, we prepare ourselves for receiving the rain that will come not when we want it, but in its proper time, in this world and the World to Come.