The Captive Bride - Ki Tetze 5781/2021
By Chana-Toni Whitmont | August 23, 2021
The Captive Bride by Chana-Toni Whitmont
This collage, in lurid, clashing colours that clamour for attention, is my take on addiction and desire and how they might be tempered by “going out to war” (in the language of the Torah portion) on our unconsciousness in order to wake up to an expanded reality. Ki Tetze alludes to our distorted delusion of desire, and how to re-cast it as what the Me’or Einayim calls “fallen loves from the world of love”. Isaiah gives us a clue as to how to go about this in the corresponding Haftorah selection with the call to spaciousness (perspective), or what Alan Lew would call “waiting for God, waiting for something deeper”.
I am grateful for the wisdom of the following teachers, whose work I sampled in the making of the collage.
Sydney lawyer, author and artist Amani Haydar whose painting “Solidarity” was reproduced on the cover of Open Book Magazine (State Library of NSW) Summer 2020. I was drawn to "re-purpose" the cover image because of the innate beauty and dignity of Haydar’s women, their downcast eyes masking their inner truths, their strong outlines highlighted against the luminous golden background. Haydar’s art is often based in her painful intimate experience with domestic violence, (itself based in warped power dynamics, another theme of Ki Tetze) although I am only surmising the story of this particular painting.
Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein of Applied Jewish Spirituality, for his translation of Rabbi Menachem Nachum Twersky of Chernobyl, (also known as Chernobyl Rebbe or the Me’or Einayim / Light of the Eyes). The phrase I used came from the Me’or Einayim’s writings on Ve’etchanan. The passage was included in lesson 6, Listening to the Silence, of the AJS course on Transformational Prayer.
Alan Lew from his discussion of this week’s portion in the chapter on Elul in his book This is Real and You are Totally Unprepared.
Rav James Jacobson-Maisels (Or HaLev) for the references to the Piaseczner Rebbe (R. Kalonymus Kalmish Shapira) in his Ki Tetze email, 2019.
The prophet Isaiah who accompanies us through these seven weeks of consolation leading to the Yamin Noraim.
Chana-Toni Whitmont is a collage artist, crystal sound healer, creative, teacher and student whose practice and passions are born from her spiritual connection to her Jewish lineage and the ebbs and flows in the annual calendar cycle. She lives with her husband close to nature on magnificent world heritage Dharug and Gundungurra country (also known as the Blue Mountains of eastern Australia).