Torah, Kabbalah and

Abuhav Synagogue of Safed

© David Friedman
the cobblestoned streets of the hilltop town of Safed and you might chance
upon David Friedman’s studio. The walls of the studio are lined with works
in bright colors — some in limited edition silkscreen prints, some in poster
format, and others in a combination of opaque watercolor and pen and ink

The art of Colorado-born David Friedman
is not only highly colorful but also laden with meaning and symbolism. Biblical
and Kabbalistic themes run throughout Friedman’s works. Stories of the Bible
often with Midrashic interpretation as well as works based on Kabbalistic
concepts are all part of Friedman’s art.

A graduate of Rhode Island School
of Design, Friedman moved to Jerusalem to study Torah, and later to Safed.
His artwork reflects his combined interests of Torah and art.

The Beginning of Genesis “This
silk-screen reads from right to left like Hebrew. The top row depicts the
creation of the Four Elements; Light and Darkness; The Firmament; the Dry
Land; Plants; and the Sun, Moon and Stars. The second row depicts the creation
of Fish and Birds; Animals; Adam; the Garden of Eden; Eve; and the Snake
who tempts them. The third row depicts the result of their Sin; their expulsion
from the Garden; the birth of Cain and Abel; their Offerings; Cain murdering
Abel; and Noah building the Ark. The last row depicts the animals entering
the Ark; the Flood; Noah sending the Dove; the Rainbow; Noah drunk in his
tent; and his sons covering his nakedness.

© David Friedman

A practitioner of Jewish Meditation,
Friedman based the work entitled, “Aleph, Mem and Shin” on meditation as
described in the ancient Kabbalistic book Sefer Yetzirah (Book of

© David Friedman

Mem and Shin
“I used the sounds of the Hebrew letters, Shin and Mem,
and the silence of the letter Aleph. I would focus my breath and exhale with
the hissing sound of Shin — ssss. Then inhale in the silent space of the
Aleph. Then exhale with the humming sound og Mem — mmmm…” Friedman explains,
“The Sefer YetzirahAish, the Hebrew word for fire. Mem stands
for , the Hebrew word for water, and Aleph stands for Avir,
the Hebrew word for air. While vocalizing the sounds of Shin and Mem, I would
feel warm like fire and then cool like water. In the silent space of the
Aleph I would feel light like air…” “I started feeling colors during my
meditations. Mem felt blue to me and Shin felt red — blue water (Yin) and
red fire (Yang). Aleph became yellow because of the relationship between
the Hebrew words for air and light. I then realized that these three Mother
letters could also represent the three primary colors — red, blue and yellow.”
(Excerpted from David Friedman’s explanation of the “Aleph, Mem and Shin”
silk-screen print.)
calls these letters the Three Mothers.
They represent three elements: Shin stands for

The 7 Days of Creation

© David Friedman

Infinite Eight

© David Friedman

Text by J. Isaacson


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