Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vayakhel: Rav Cook on Rembrant's Art

Jonathan Sacks discusses art in Judaism this week, and shares a lovely quote from Israel's first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Rav Cook in 1935 (from the Jewish Chronicle):

When I lived in London, I would visit the National Gallery, and the paintings that I loved the most were those of Rembrandt. In my opinion Rembrandt was a saint. When I first saw Rembrandt's paintings, they reminded me of the rabbinic statement about the creation of light. When G-d created the light [on the first day], it was so strong and luminous that it was possible to see from one end of the world to the other. And G-d feared that the wicked would make use of it. What did He do? He secreted it for the righteous in world to come. But from time to time there are great men whom G-d blesses with a vision of that hidden light. I believe that Rembrandt was one of them, and the light in his paintings is that light which G-d created on Genesis day.

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