The Hebrew language and alphabet have a history and depth like no other. It is a holy language, used to directly speak to G-d in prayer, as it is the very same language He used to speak to the nation of Israel at the Divine Revelation at Mt. Sinai during their 40 years in the desert. The Luchot (or “Two Tablets”) upon which G-d Himself wrote the Ten Commandments for Moses to take down the mountain and give to the Jewish people were written in Hebrew. The Torah, which is the scroll composed of the Five Books of Moses, were dictated to Moses upon Mt. Sinai in Hebrew, word for word.
Over the past thousands of years, a great deal of analysis has been dedicated by the great Rabbis and scholars to the meanings behind the paragraphs, word combinations, and even spellings in the Torah. At the root of it all are the letters themselves, and the amazing meanings they individually infuse into the words they combine to create. The sheer elegance and calligraphy of their construct conveys ideas and wisdom. Concepts such as “home”, “charity”, and “reaching for G-d” are found in their shapes. The closer one looks, the more that can be found within their deceptive simplicity. There are even lessons to be learned from the numerical values that each letter is assigned.
Hebrew as a spoken language has been reborn in the modern state of Israel, after remaining liturgical for almost 2,000 years. Mixing ancient Hebrew grammar with contemporary vocabulary, Russian-born linguist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858-1922) was primarily responsible for making it a “living” language, now commonly used in Israeli business and casual life. This creates a universal bond between Jews from every country throughout the world.
The following 22 paintings are works of love, spiritual energy, and life-long fascination that I have with the beauty of the Hebrew letters. Inspired by illuminated manuscripts of old, ornate designs and vibrant colors flowed from the shapes, each wrapping around a Magen David (Shield of David) motif.
View the other galleries >>
The Illuminated Letters