Contact firstname.lastname@example.org From North America: (510) 550 1173 In Israel: (077) 662 1230
Laya Crust, Canada
In parshat Shemini we read about two divisions. One is the division between kosher animals and non-kosher animals, the other is the division between holy fire and unholy fire. In this parsha a jarring and unexpected occurrence takes place. Moshe conducts a series of sacrifices and the burnt offerings are accepted by G-d. G-d sends down a pillar of fire which consumes the burnt offering and the altar and the people are amazed.
Two of Aharon's sons, Nadav and Avihu, take it upon themselves to make an unsolicited sacrifice to G-d. It is seen as an act of disrespect— as it hasn't been described or requested- and G-d sends out another fire which devours the two men. Moshe tells Aharon and his other sons not to mourn.
This incident is followed by long list of non-kosher and kosher animals. The parsha ends with G-d telling the nation to make a distinction between the clean and the unclean.
There are a few banks of flames In this painting. The acceptable flames are rendered in reds, oranges and yellows. The flames wind up to heaven and ultimately turn into gold. The gold is the flame being accepted by the heavens, and g-d sending down his own flames to meet the earthly ones. These ethereal flames are bounded by others which are rendered in burnt orange, burgundy, red and yellow ochre. The flames die and do not reach to heaven.
The two different types of flames depict the differences between acceptable sacrifices and those done without the necessary preparation and kavana, and between animals deemed kosher and those deemed not kosher.
We strive to make our prayers and our lives like the flames that will reach to heaven and be golden, and to leave behind the actions and thoughts that are not well formed and reaching towards true spirituality.
Laya Crust is an internationally recognized artist creating art in a variety of media. Foremost a painter, she also works in clay, fabric and glass and has collaborated with stained glass artists, fibre artists and silver smiths to express her ideas in unique forms. Laya studied art in Winnipeg, Israel and Toronto. She maintains a studio in Toronto, Canada.