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Wheat/Menorah Pot



Wheat, rice and corn were the foundations of the civilizations of the Middle East/Europe, Asia and the New World respectively. Of these three, it seems the first to be cultivated was wheat. It is probably no exaggeration to state that the domestication of wheat here in the Middle East was the single most important factor in the transformation of human beings from hunting/gathering bands to settled agricultural and eventually urban communities. Every aspect of culture was transformed by this revolution.

In Judaism wheat takes the first place among the plants of the Land of Israel. Bread, whether it be the showbread of the Temple service, the Matzah of Passover, or the Challah for Shabbat and holidays, has always played a very prominent place in Jewish law, custom and folklore.  According to one rabbinic opinion, the Tree of Knowledge was none other than the wheat plant. The eating of bread is what determines a full meal and obligates one to recite the grace afterward. The blessing over bread covers all the other foods at a meal.

In this print, I have merged the image of wheat with the most important Jewish symbol of all—the Menorah. The seven-branched candelabrum of the tabernacle and of the Temple has become the primary symbol of Judaism throughout the ages. Here I have used the reiteration of this combined wheat and Menorah form to suggest the constant grace and abundance of God’s gifts of life to us—physical food— symbolized by the staff of life, and spiritual light hinted at by the Menorah. As we say each time we eat bread:  “He gives bread to all flesh, for His mercy is eternal.”

Edition of the Pueblo Portfolio

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