Parshat Vayeira

Mixed media collage reproduced as glicée print on parchment, 2006

Artist: sooze bloom deLeon grossman,  USA

I have been writing midrashim, stories of text interpretation, and making art for almost 20 years. Each Rosh Hashana [the Jewish New Year], I wrestle with the text of Vayeira and its message of teshuva [repentance] and the political consequences inherent in this Torah portion and in our Jewish history. Art, life, politics, practice, spirituality, family — all these interwoven obligations — are called into question and reexamined with each new reading cycle of the Torah at the outset of each year. I have illustrated dozens of portions of the Torah. But I always come back to Vayeira: “And He, God, appeared.”

In my contribution to Women of the Book, I focus on the mystical concept of beyn hashmashot, the magical space of twilight, between the moon and sun. More specifically, I explore the time of the Twilight of the First Shabbat before Creation was completed, the time before time. This twilight is the in-between time between the sixth Day and the final seventh Day — the day of completion and rest, the Shabbat of Shabbats — when the Spheres of the Universe first sang in chorus with the malakhim, the Angels of God, in the Great Making of the Worlds. It is different from the one we experience with every sunset, every Shabbat since then. The twilight place reminds us humans that we are always small and delicately balanced by our actions and in our needs. We are hanging by a thread, teetering between day and night, good choices and bad, selfish desires and the greater good, between the life the Torah gives us and the destruction that follows from ethical abdication.

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About sooze

Raised in Japan, Hawaii and the Mojave Desert in an ethnically, religiously, socially, & politically mixed family, Sooze Bloom DeLeon Grossman now resides on Vashon Island near Seattle, Washington. A working artist and activist for over 30 years, sooze has worked in glass, textiles, and mixed-media collage.

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