The work may be seen in the context of
disturbing current events in
Israel and the world,
where the dominant trend of behavior of most
and the society seems to be that only the violent prevail.
If I were to seek an appropriate phrase from Jewish sources,
would choose the following section from the Ethics of the Fathers
Rabbi Hanina, the priest second-in-charge, says:
One should pray for
the authority of Kingdom,
because if there is no fear from it,
person would swallow his friend alive.
It would seem that Rabbi Hanina voices
a basically pessimistic view
about human nature
and prefers any kind of societal order
oppressive rule of the Roman empire to anarchy.
This is emphasized by
that Rabbi Hanina himself was one of the famous
who were cruelly tortured by the Romans.
This idea would seem to fit the triptych submitted.
The center panel
suggests a scene of uncontrolled violence
which is being "contained" by
the outer panels
with their strong diagonal vectors
and a hint of two
fishes swallowing each other
on the right and perhaps a Roman soldier
on the left.
A Jewish mystical interpretation sheds
a completely different light on
and ultimately the idea behind the triptych.
The context now
is not societal but the individual.
The idea of "swallowing one's
is not to kill him, but to believe
because of an
that everyone else exists (and is allowed
only to be absorbed and used to satisfy one's own needs.
correction for this is the Fear of Malchut or Kingdom,
a higher Divine
Authority, which forces the individual
to contain and ultimately
his ego and self-aggrandizement.
Now the center panel can
relate to the EEG activity
of an individual's brain while the diagonal
on the side panel symbolize or suggest transcendence.
This is one of the important secrets of the Hebrew letter Aleph א,
the only letter with a dominant diagonal form
and of course the first letter of the Ten Commandments.
Finally, we can derive a typically Jewish exegesis
the “swallowed friend”
to include even our sworn enemies,
such as Pharaoh and Amalek,
which become now symbols of the undesirable
aspects of one’s own personality.
And if a tikkun or correction
of the individual is achieved,
it can then have a positive influence
also on the outside reality and society.
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