Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I love The Star of Redemption, Franz Rosenzweig, 1921. Unlike many people, I have no difficulty understanding him. 

My very dear friend and mentor, a professor of philosophy, "The Professor", when I was spending the weekly Shabbat with he and his wife (my best friend) as usual, and since I had been reading through the first chapter and exquisitely excited about it, couldn't wait to tell him. 

His unequivocal response: "Nobody understands Rosenzweig!" 

The next week Shabbat, I took along my catalog of Samuel Bak paintings and directed his attention to this photograph of The Family and this diagram of The Star of Redemption: "This is the inverse of this," I said matter of factly.

The Family was in the art gallery of Yad Vashem some time back and all of us have seen it, although not together. It's enormous. It took up the space from floor to ceiling and about half the width of the permanent wall on the far side of the gallery facing the entrance. During its tenure here, I went to see it often and spent hours studying it.

The Professor said nothing.  Walked away, did an errand for preparation for Shabbat dinner.... came back to the kitchen, 

"Okay....Now, Can you explain it"

The Family, by Samuel Bak, 1974

Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption diagram
(1) The Family and other paintings of Samuel Bak can be seen at the Pucker Gallery site URL: http://www.puckergallery.com/artists/bak_major/bak_major_all.html
(2) Artodyssey has a really good display of Bak's work URL: http://artodyssey1.blogspot.co.il/2012/02/samuel-bak.html
(3) The Star of Redemption Diagram is on the Wikimedia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TheStarOfRedemptionEng.svg
(4) The Stanford Encyclopedia has an excellent entry on Rosenzweig here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rosenzweig/
(5) Link to the Yad Vashem Art Museum: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/museum/art_museum.asp
(6) URL for "An Arduous Road Samuel Bak: 60 Years of Creativity": http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/bak/index.asp
(7) URL for "Virtues of Memory: Six Decades of Survivors' Creativity" URL: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/virtues_of_memory/overview.asp

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