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My Tools


Out of stock


A signed, limited-edition, giclee print by David Moss Edition limited to 218 exemplars:
1/200 to 200/200
18 Artist proofs marked A/P
16 7/8″ x 11 3/4″
Printing: Yair Medinah, Jerusalem Fine Art Prints.
Paper: Epson 225 gram Fine Art Paper

Artist’s Statement

A seemingly trivial problem had me stumped: how to finish the main part of Love Letters, my book on Jewish love and marriage. I had divided the works into seven sections. I knew that the next thing to follow the last section was the list of attributions. Yet I sensed that to just display the last Ketubah and finish off with the letters I had written the couples did not provide the closure I was seeking. I tried moving various parts of the text from the introduction into the back as an epilogue.

Traditional Jewish books end with the six-letter acronym: ע”בלשות which stands for

Tam v’nishlam shbach l’el barach olam

A very fitting ending to any sustained work of years of creative energy. It means ”Finished and Completed [with] Praise to God, the Creator of the Universe.”

Somehow every creation brings us back to a keen awareness of The Creation.

Yet what is the relationship between the Creator and the created? In a sense, the story of creation culminates with the verse: “And God created Humanity in His own image, in the image of God, He created it; male and female, He created them.” Genesis 1:27

Volumes have been written to expound the multitude of opinions on what this Biblical verse implies. In what sense were we created in the image of God? How do we resemble God? Were we created with a spark of the Divine? Were we endowed with a portion of Divine wisdom? Is the human soul somehow of a Godly essence? Is our similarity in our ability to wield immense power? Does it have to do with our gift of free will? Is it our ability to make moral and ethical decisions?

I believe that a part of the divine part of humanity is our gift to create. Though incomparably different from divine creation, we humans can originate. We can innovate, we can invent. We can bring new forms into being. We can structure, organize and generate little worlds of our own, in a poem, a novel, a treatise, a painting, a building, a city, a culture. Like God, we can even make people. The verse concludes “male and female He created them”. We can not only engender our own kind but breed new species of plants and animals. Are we somehow being God-like when we do all this? I believe we are. Is there a danger in doing it? I believe there is. The story of the tower of Babel makes it clear that human design and building can also run amok. Yet the immense power of human creativity for noble causes remains inspired. The creative act can engage the very best of the human/divine spirit in ways that few other modalities can.

Acknowledging and praising the Creator on the completion of a work collecting a lifetime of creative work on the recreation of a document symbolic of the creative union of male and female felt just right.

Yet the gap between divine and human creativity remains infinite. Hebrew distinguishes this carefully. The verb that opens Genesis is ראב.Barah “In the beginning God Barah the heavens and the earth” In the traditional phrase of completion of a book praising God the same verb is used. I believe this verb is never used in the Bible for people. Human creativity is of a different kind. It has a different verb: רצי Yatzar. This is what the potter does. She forms, she molds, she shapes, she structures. She brings earth and water, hands and tools, kiln and fire together to ‘create’ something new. Human creativity is about bringing the God-created elements of our world together to make new things. The poet combines words. The composer combines sounds. The painter combines colors.

To acknowledge, thank and elevate my physical helpers, the precious tools that have allowed me to make all these works, I placed them boldly on this page:

The turkey feather, cut into a quill, effortlessly writes minute letters for me.

The crow-quill, steel pen, flexible, delicate and responsive, precisely outlines for me.

The large-nibbed pen, dipped in ink or paint, patiently draws for me.

The razor sharp scalpel makes intricate, lacy cuts in paper or parchment while rarely harming me.

The bamboo tomato stake, cut to a broad edge, graciously writes year after year for me.

And with apologies to the pencils, brushes, rulers, burnishers, inks, paints, gold-leaf, erasers and so many others…

For me these tools must not be thought of as mere servants, there to do my will. They are partners. It is perhaps most accurate to say that they are teachers. By listening to them very carefully, I have learned what each one most wants to do, what stroke it delights in, what flourishes it relishes. My tools have taught me much. At the business end of each tool, I included a snippet from one of the ketubot in the book of the kind of work that tool might do.

The image of the tools doing their work seemed to me the appropriate ending I was seeking. It was inserted not only as the last page of the body of the book, but as the last thing to be included. I put it in after the editors and publisher had seen final copy. When my wife, Rosalyn, saw it she immediately loved it and realized that it could stand alone as a print. She requested that a fine art print be created from the image. It came out perfectly and she had it beautifully framed. Requests started to come in and we decided to edition it.

I suppose this print is a grateful acknowledgement of all the innumerable gifts I have been given: the Divine gifts of soul and spirit, of hands and heart, of books and teachers, of clients and patrons, of family and friends, of tools and materials, of knowledge and understanding, of health and wealth, of time and energy, of patience and persist.


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