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Your Name in Hebrew is Hidden in My Paintings

Your name, in Hebrew, is hidden in my paintings. Really. Everyone's is.

Not only that, but the name of the Creator, referred to as Ha Shem (The Name) by observant orthodox Jews, is actually physically present, but hidden in everyone's Hebrew name.

To begin with , everyone has a biblical style name in Hebrew, whether it is known to them or not. This includes everyone who is not Jewish. It does not matter what language their name(s) derive from, there is either a Hebrew version or the name transliterates into Hebrew.

For instance, imagine winning a wonderful prize so that an article is written about you in The Jerusalem Post , they will either translate or transliterate your name into Hebrew.

Biblically people are referred to as son of (ben), daughter of (bat). In synagogue one is called to the Torah and gives their Hebrew name. Thus the most famous Jew had the name of Yeshua (Joshua) ben (son of) Mara (Mary) v(and)Yosef (Joseph).

The concept of one's name harkening back to the very names of our parents brings new meaning to the commandment of honoring one's father and mother.

Names are important and have significance in the Bible, beginning with the Creator's naming of Adam, whose name means red and refers to the earth (dirt) from which he was formed. There are many biblical references to people who are only known to us by their names and the information as to who begat them and who in turn they begat.

Names reflect one's relationship with the Lord. Sari and Abram's names are changed to Sarah and Abraham, denoting their new status. Jacob becomes Israel after wrestling with the angel.

Adam's first job is to name the animals, because by naming them he forms a relationship with each one. The idea that knowing someone's name puts us in relationship continues when we meet people today.

“Every one that is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, I have formed him, yea, I have made him.” -- Isaiah 43 7

How can someone be called by Ha Shem's name? And which name would that be, since the Creator has many?

The most common name in the Bible for HaShem is the Yud-Hay-Vav-Hey, which has been often transliterated as Jehovah.

In Torah font Hebrew all of the letters can be created from a yud (like a comma only in top placement) and a vav (resembles a plain capital “i” with a tiny top to the left, also described as a spear). This makes Hebrew also a binary language of yuds and vavs.

Heys are comprised of two vavs and a yud. In the yud-hey-vav-hey there are two heys. Thus the Great Name is comprised of five vavs and three yuds.

It is easy to dissect any Hebrew name or word into the basic number of vavs and heys necessary to create all the letters. My Hebrew name is Yehudi Rachel, but let's just focus on my first name, Yehudi, which is spelled, yud-hey-vav-dalet-yud. The letter dalet is composed of two vavs in torah font. Thus my first name equals 5 vavs and three yuds – actually the same number of yuds and vavs in the Great Name. So, like a hidden the Great Name is hidden in my name!

In the example above we only used my first name. However, using my full Hebrew name would have yielded many more yuds and vavs. This is true for anyone's full name in Hebrew. Thus the basic five vavs and three yuds needed to create the name of Ha Shem are easily found in anyone's name!

This gives more meaning to the quote from Isaiah as to how we can be called by HaShem's name! It certainly gives new meaning to the idea of protecting one's own good name!

Since I paint using the Hebrew Torah font letters (yuds and vavs for every stroke, which combine into letters) from original Hebrew texts, the yuds and vavs necessary for your Hebrew anme are in each and evey one of my paintings many times over, even hundreds of times for the larger works. Not only that but the actual letters themselves are in each and every painting to create your full name in Hebrew many times over in most but the postcard size “Shema” paintings, where you will still find more than enough yuds and vavs.

A few years ago there were a series of NewYork Times bestsellers about a finding called The Bible Code . Essentially, names and events in history are reportedly contained in the Hebrew Bible, such as JFK's assassination. The idea is that the words are hidden in grids that can run left to right, right to left, horizontally or diagonally. In this same way everyone's name is possibly found in the Hebrew Bible , or more importantly the Torah ( Pentateuch ), which the Book of Life . In the Bible Codes the grids are two dimensional and no letters overlap.

In a similar way, the letters that make up most everyone's name translated into Hebrew should be able to be found actually touching or overlapping, vertically, horizontally and/or diagonally in any direction since there are many layers of letters in my work, making it really many layers (grids) of letters. The odds are that this happens in all of the larger works, considering the many layers of letters. This is in addition to the fact that the letters of everyone's name are certainly in the works, plus all the yuds and vavs necessary to create anyone's unique name.

As the artist, it gives me pause to realize that. This is a new idea for me, one I realized in the past 24 hours. It seems to mean that each painting is both uniquely intimate for individuals and yet universal. Since this is being posted as a blog article, I would be very interested in any feedback, whether from a theological or artistic view.

Thus, your name, in Hebrew, is hidden in my paintings. Really! Everyone's is.

Not only that, but the name of the Creator, referred to as Ha Shem (The Name) by observant orthodox Jews, is actually physically present, but hidden in everyone's Hebrew name.

May 13, 2007

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." -- Albert Einstein

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