It seems benificial to write the following: the quality of coventional art can be summarized thus: a good painting is like a good meal. That is, no matter the subject or approach, etc. that which makes an artwork better than another is it’s good taste. (This also explains why they are no fixed objective standards in the subject of art, for everyone’s taste is different: this painting appeals to this person’s “aesthetic pallete” and another to another, etc. Yet there are artworks that are nearly impalletable to all, and others that appeal to many people, etc. just as there are foods that almost no human can stomach and others that almost all like, etc.; therfore there are some objective standards.)

Good taste—this means a balancing and harmony and potency of all the elements of the picture, the originality of it’s approach, as well as countless other qualities; similar to the balance and harmony of a good meal, each portion being of the best taste, finest spice, highest nutrition, etc. within itself, and also having proper balance and harmony with the other portions of the meal.

It seems also, that in art which is Torah; whose content is only spiritual, nevertheless, it’s merit is also dependent on it’s good taste, for spiritual truth is also aligned with the rules of harmony and balance.

Just as art whose primary considerations are aesthetic (for, I hold, art cannot release itself from aesthetic considerations; thus, for me, “conceptual art” which holds no aesthetic interest—why look at it?) has two aspects: concept and execution; also Torah (and art which is Torah) has the same two aspects, thought and deed; thus it’s quality can also be analogized by a ‘good meal’. [For Torah, as art, also involves both the giver and reciever; and the most profound subject, if not delivered properly, is not successful Torah. This is simple; and behold it has already been taught: see the commentary of Rashi on the first verse of Parshat Mishpatim where it is taught that Moshe Rabbenu, of blessed memory, is exhorted by HaKadosh Baruch Hu, to present the Torah to Yisrael as a “shulchan aruch” a prepared table (meal), ready to eat.]

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מבעל הלש”ם (לשם שבו ואחלמה) מספרו חלק ג’  ספר כללי התפשטות והסתלקותת (כלל ח’ ענף ה’ וו’)בחלק הביאורים דרושי עגולים ויושר הקדמה לענף ב’, [בחלק הנדפס מחדש בשנת תש”ח] בדף י”ג ע”א, {מובא בקונטרס חוקות שמים מתוך ספר מחשבת בצלאל על הקדמת רחובות הנהר לרבינו הרש”ש, מאת הרב שריה דבליצקי, זצוק”ל, דף כ”ז}  

from Baal HaLeshem

Oil on canvas ציור שמן על קנבס

70 cm. x 50 cm.

וכשאנו עוסקים בזה למטה מתעורר בשרשה העליון אשר למעלה שהוא בהנביעו האור א”ס שבפנימית האצילות ונתוסף ומתגלה אורו ויחודו שם ומשקה ומרוה בשרשים הנעלמים דכל העולמות כולם מנועם זיו אורו יתברך שתוא (צ”ל שהוא) חמודת כל החמודות ועדן כל העדונין  ובו הוא כל טוב הצפון אשר יתגלה לעתיד אחר שיתעכל ויתבטל כל הזוהמה (צ”ל הזוהמא) כולה ויסור כל המסכים והחומות הברזל המפסוקים (צ”ל המפסיקים) בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים ואז יתגלה ויתפשט כל הנועם והעונג העצום מהזיו הנפלה (צ”ל הנפלא) הנורא והנשגב הזה

3 Responses

  1. That’s it! I knew it! Your work is very satiating/ satisfying ….nourishing .

  2. How would you describe music in this context? Classical versus horrific noises? Chazanus versus a gabble?

    Gut Erev Shabbos.

    Noach miTelshestone

  3. Shalom u’vracha, Reb Noach.

    Good to hear from you. I’m not sure that I understand your question, all the more so I don’t think I understand what is behind it.
    It is obviously the same with music. good taste- harmony, balance, spice, originality,etc. Horrific noises–what is the havah aminah that it could be good music, good taste? Gabble–the same.

    Perhaps it is bothering you—behold, there are people that davka prefer hearing horrific noises to hearing classical music…it is just a matter of different taste? It seems that we won’t find a large category of people eating horrific tasting foods, as much as we find many listening to horrific sounding…if so, interesting. Why not?

    I think the answer is that the spiritual palette is broader that the physical palette. Proof: behold, everyone eats food that has some nutritional value, that gives him life. Yet in the spiritual realm, we find masses of humanity worshiping avodah-zara, complete sheker which give them no spiritual nourishment; the opposite: it kills them.


    I think the basis of your question is, perhaps, the question of “discord”. All good music uses discord to offset harmony. Something that is only harmony tends towards being unpalatable because of it’s banality, etc. If you will agree that “jazz” is also fine music; behold, it’s potency is davka in the discussion that it runs between harmony and discord…

    In terms of Jewish spirituality it is possible that this discussion is a matter of Klipah Nogah, which is both kodesh and teumah, it can brought to the side of kedusha or not, Heaven forbid. This also touches on the inyan of Aitz Daas Tov v’Rah, which is the ikar makom of all birrurim of bnei adam (Yisrael) in this world. The use of discord tastefully can be said to be the bechina of changing evil to good, reaching into the evil and rectifying it. This is the work of tzadikim; not sufficient to simply avoid evil, rather to rectify it (in all sifrei kodesh, see in particular Sefer Tania at length in many places, of the difference between benoni and tzadik, the yetzer of the benoni remains in full force his whole life even though he never does a single avera, whereas the tzadik transform his evil nature to good…????? ?????? ????”?)

    So it seems that those people that love “head-bashing” music, it is a matter of going into Klipah Nogah and falling there, Rachmana litzlan, and not being able to “redeem the sparks of kedusha” that are there.

    In short.

    I hope I was mecavain to your intention. I would very much appreciate hearing your response.

    kal tuv. gutten Shabbes!

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