Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Life Cycles

Chaim - "Life" is structured in the Hebrew form of a double plural. Just like yadaim - "hands," oznaim - "ears"... (yes, mayim - "water," has the same form).  The single word for LIFE carries an intrinsic implication of two lives.  Does it perhaps imply an internal and external reality?  Does it speak to this life and a life hereafter? These are the thoughts that circulate as I've been working on Yizkor candle settings.

Mishlei (Proverbs) 20:27 speaks of the soul: Ner Havaya Nishmat Adam -"the candle of Havaya is the soul of a human being."  In our tribal tradition, consequently, a candle has come to symbolize a soul. The yahrzeit candle brings the memory of a fragile life to to fore and accompanies that memory with the recognition of the continued life, in whatever form, of that beloved soul.
So, I have begun creating theseYizkor candle settings - a simple concept that provides a place setting for that memory candle with a kind of meditative focus that reinforces life. Made from copper and cedar, they are a small addition to the world of hidur mitzvah - "Beautification of the Connective Tissue between ourselves and the Source of our being. Three etched designs inked in various colors with optional text.  If you get a chance you can check them out at AmericanJudaica.com under Life Cycle - Yahrzeit.