There is much to be written about the subject of the “new”, chidush, in Art and in Avodat Hashem in general; here I will suffice with brief topic headings. The Torah exhorts us in several places about the importance of one’s learning and performance of the mitzvoth, that it be fresh and new at all times, that one approach each day and each hour as if it is his first encounter with Torah and its mitzvoth, and not as something that has been rehearsed and preformed countless times. One can understand this requirement in light of the reality that we are taught that the entire universe is recreated at every moment; that not one moment follows by nature automatically from the preceding moment, rather only through the constantly renewed good will of the Blessed Creator does the world continue to exist, indeed it comes into existence entirely anew at each moment. Yet man, who is given free will, can exert himself to behold this awesome reality or he can slumber and see the illusion of the world proceeding through its course. It is indeed a very great and important Avodah to not allow one’s mind relax into a rote way of encountering reality, for indeed reality is in constant flux, and no day is similar to the preceding, indeed the service required for today is entirely unique (עיין פרי עץ חיים, פרק ז’, מובא בסידור האר”י לרבי אשר, דף ז’-ח’) The creation of artworks parallels this reality. One can live a life of slumber and create images similar to what he or someone else produced earlier, seeking to reproduce a successful product. Or one can awaken to the awesome power of creation that The Holy One exhibits every moment, and awaken in himself a similar power of renewal and expend vigorous energy to manifest of the new life, thought and feeling with which The Holy One endows him anew at each moment, to express in joy his thankfulness for another moment and hour and day of life in which to serve his Creator. There is obviously no comparison between the two alternatives.
Why was I recreated this morning? Certainly, that the Blessed Creator, so to speak, troubled Himself to recreate me, certainly it must be for an exalted reason. Certainly not to re-perform some actions I performed yesterday. This matter of renewal can be said to have as its source the belief of the creation of the world, yesh m’yain. Our belief in this postulate requires us to internalize the constant awareness that our days are numbered; just as the world has a beginning and also an end, thus too, our lives. Our Holy Sages have taught that man (in general) lives in this world as if he has a thousand years to live, in other words, without cognizance of the finite nature of his life which requires him to exert himself to utilize every moment in maximal effort to serve his Creator.
כי העצלה איננה מנחת שיהיה אפילו חש לדברי המוכיחים אותו אלה יחשוב הכל לתועים ושוטים והוא לבדו חכם
For laziness does not allow that he will even consider the words of his reprovers, rather he will think that everyone is mistaken and foolish, and he alone is wise.
Oil on canvas ציור שמן
70 cm. x 100 cm.