Shabbat & Art - òì ùáú åàåîðåú
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Take a look at this picture: (sofa)
It probably didn’t take you long to recognize what the object in the picture was, what it could be used for and How it would look.
Now look at the next picture: (light bulb)
Also this picture isn’t too hard to recognize.
These are simple, clear, uncomplicated or difficult pictures. Furthermore, unless we suffer from an eye disease of some sort, we recognize what the object in the picture is within seconds.
Now take a look at this next picture: (3D magic eye picture)
This picture took you a bit longer to discover…
For those of you, who still think it’s a picture of a bunch of Roses, look again.
It’s a “magic eye” or 3-D picture that allows us to view an object in three dimensions just by staring at it, (you might need to squint your eyes a bit and go in and out of focus for it to work)
Take your time.
If you haven’t got it yet try holding it up to your nose and then moving the picture slowly away
Don’t give up until you get it, it’s most definitely worth it.
By now you should have been able to see a large heart in the middle of the picture.
Which of the above pictures do you like the most?
If I was going to carry on showing you pictures which type of pictures would you prefer me to exhibit? Would you prefer the first, two dimensional simple pictures or would you choose to try and see more 3-D pictures.
Most of you, most likely chose the second option. The first pictures were ordinary, they were nice, but they weren’t challenging. There not exiting and sooner or later we may become bored with them. The 3-D pictures on the other hand, are challenging, there a bit different then what we’re used to and when we do finally see the picture they are much more rewarding.
For this reason the majority of us would rule that the 3-d pictures are much much better.
Now which one of these types of pictures would you hang on your wall?
Ah now things become a little more complicated, on the one hand we just said that the 3-D pics were cooler but on the other hand do we want to fill the rooms of our house with these pictures – I’m not so sure…
When we looked at the three dimensional pictures, we have to take the time to concentrate , to make our eyes look a certain way and it still takes us time after that to see the object in the picture. (And that’s, if we see it at all)
The 3-D pictures are better but most people can’t be bothered to see them all the time as they would if they were hanged on the walls of their houses.
In our dining-room or lounge we expect to see pictures that, although should be special, don’t require any difficulty in noticing that beauty.
So what can we do with the 3-D pictures???
The Magic Eye pictures have very set rules to discover the beauty within them.
In our lives we don’t like to “bend” to such strict rules, so we would usually prefer to hang more simple paintings in our lounge.
We don’t like extra complications in our lives, on the contrary most of us try to find ways to make our life much more simple, for instance if your hungry just wait two minutes and a three course meal will be ready for you in the microwave dinners. Need to post a letter? forget waiting a week for it to get there, just send a fax.
We immerse ourselves in a two flick, 0 speed world, where everything is here and now.
So who wants to concentrate on some magic painting anyway?????
But then again, every now and then, we do enjoy a rare challenge of discovering a hidden object in a cleverly designed picture. We wouldn’t want to completely forget about them. Just like a crossword or a logical puzzles that we sometimes enjoy working out.
In this case we might decide to buy a book filled with these pictures and put it on a shelf somewhere in the living room. So that whoever wants to take a look at them can browse through them, when and where he wants to.
Some of us might even hang up one of these pictures in the living room. But only one.
We wouldn’t want to completely be without these pictures in our home, because they are very cool, but… there’s no need to over do it. Not all the time. Not all over the house.
Shabbat is one day in the week that has many rules.
We all know that someone who isn’t used to observing the laws of Shabbat will come across much difficulty, the first time he tries to keep the Shabbat in accordance with the Halacha.
We’re not allowed to switch lights on and off, we can’t cook, we can’t watch television, we’re not meant to drive or travel by bus etc
In short, for somebody who isn’t used to it (and come to think of it, for a lot of people who are used to it too) Shabbat is about a lot of restrictions.
However, The Shabbat can also be seen as a wonderful day. A day where we can make proper conversation with family members and friends. A day for catching up on books we haven’t had the time to read during the week. A day to spend quality time with the kids. A day to spend time thinking about our physical, mental and spiritual health. A day for contemplating where we stand in regards to our jobs, loved ones, and self. A day for summing up the week that has passed and planning for the week ahead.
If we could only see the Shabbat in the way that we think about the 3-D pictures, we may find that within all these laws and limitations there’s something that’s not binding, but on the contrary, something liberating.
If we could view the halacha in the same way that we view the “laws” of seeing the 3-D picture( focusing the eyes, patience, holding the picture in a certain angle etc) – then we may understand that these laws come to help us see the deeper beauty that’s hidden in this special day. In the very same way that the laws of the magic eye allow us to discover the speciality of the 3-D picture.
In day to day life, we rarely have time to sit and talk to each other apart from sharing experiences or just passing informative messages from one another – (maybe that’s why sms and E-mail have become such an intrinsic means of communication).
How much time do we really spend having a real meaningful and deep conversation with our family and friends?
Let’s face it, when we meet up with friends we usually go and do something (watch a movie, shopping, restaurant, a pub) we almost never have a chance to just be with them.
On Shabbat, a day where we can’t drive anywhere, turn the TV on and watch a movie together, we’re suddenly “forced to” actually be there with each other. Be by ourselves, without any thing to ‘help’ us.
Maybe all the restrictions we have on Shabbat are just there to free us from our usual path of escape. And in this way helps us discover ourselves head on.
Imagine, a whole day from morning to night, of being with people that you can’t do anything else with except to talk to each other. To talk about things that aren’t to do with day to day life, to eat together, to sing together, to sit outside on the grass, to divulge into a really significant book, to sprawl across the couch, to think seriously about our lives, where we’ve been, where we’re going, and to just be with each other. To just be with ourselves.
The laws of Shabbat come to redeem us from our day to day lives and dive into the deeper and more significant parts of our lives that we would not have discovered without them.
Obviously one can’t live his whole life in this way. Like the 3-D pictures, we wouldn’t want to fill our living room with them. We wouldn’t want to spend a whole week having a really deep conversation, the world has a physical side to it too, a practical side that we can’t escape from.
But just like with those paintings, if we make sure, once in a while, to spend some quiet time with family and friends, but most of all with ourselves, we may find a more significant and meaningful world than the one we live in, in our day to day life throughout the week.
So just once a week pick your head up from the sea of simple pictures to see a world that’s deeper, more meaningful and magnificent