July/Tammuz "Ma Tovu Ohalecha Ya'acov" How Goodly Are Your Tents O Jacob

Balaam’s Perspective – A Blessing From Above

Darius Gilmont’s painting “Parshat Balak” is all about perspective. We get to share Balaam’s view of the Israelite camp, and wonder if such a sight would also lead us to pronounce the words of “Ma Tovu“. Are the people aware that Balaam stands above them? Can they hear his blessing? With bright colors and simple shapes, Gilmont focuses on Balaam and provides a sense of order and intention to the text.

Darius Gilmont is a painter based in Ra’anana, Israel who connects his work to the “naive art” and “symbolist art” genres. To see more of his paintings, including others that depict Torah texts, please visit his website at www.darius-art.com.

Books and Blintzes thanks the artist for his permission to use this image. Please do not share, copy, distribute, etc. without his consent.

 

Jewish Text Art Challenge Galleries, July/Tammuz "Ma Tovu Ohalecha Ya'acov" How Goodly Are Your Tents O Jacob

D’rash Design – Inspired Commentary

Artist Christina Mattison Ebert began the “D’rash Design Project” in 2012, creating pieces that expressed her interpretation of Jewish texts. Drawing on the weekly Torah portion, haftara (selection from the Prophets) and holidays, she ultimately crafted over 60 works of art. This is one of her images for the portion Balak.

From the artist:

“How fair are your tents, oh Jacob, your dwelling places, oh people Israel!” is one of my favorite verses in the Torah. Spoken by a non-Jewish prophet (Bilam) upon seeing the Israelite encampments in the wilderness, this line is unique because Bilam had originally come to curse the Israelites so that the Moabites could defeat them in war. Bilam recites a full poem in praise of the Israelite encampment, which you can read in Numbers 24:5-9.

Thank you to Christina Mattison Ebert for her permission to share this image and description. You can learn more about her work as an artist and illustrator at http://www.cmattison.com/. More about the D’rash Design project including other images, is available at https://www.etsy.com/shop/drashdesigns.

July/Tammuz "Ma Tovu Ohalecha Ya'acov" How Goodly Are Your Tents O Jacob

Ma Tovu – How Goodly Are Your Tents

The Torah portion “Balak“, which comes from the Book of Numbers and is read during the Hebrew month of Tammuz includes Balaam’s blessing of the Israelites. Although he had been hired to curse the people, his “eyes were opened” and at the moment, was moved to praise, rather than censure. The rabbis incorporated this verse into the daily morning prayer service, when at the time that people enter the synagogue, they recognize the value of coming together as a community.

מַה-טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ, יַעֲקֹב; מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ, יִשְׂרָאֵל

“How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, thy dwellings, O Israel”

This month’s Jewish Text Art Challenge Gallery will feature media that represent artistic understandings of this blessing. Join the conversation by sharing which ones speak to you, and your own creations that praise the values of community and klal Yisrael.