Jewish papercut art: creating in service to the divine.

betzelim elohim hebrica jewish artist jewish papercut art jewish ritual item judaic art judaica kim phillips midrash tetragrammaton

b'tzelim elohim midrash hebrica jewish papercut artMany times, when I am doing my Jewish papercut art, the act of creating it becomes a meditation.

The piece "B'tzelim Elohim" is based on a midrash that says that the four letters of the tetragrammaton - yud, hey, vav, hey - the unpronounceable name of God, actually make a human form when stacked vertically. As I was designing and cutting that piece, I was thinking, "What does this mean, b'tzelim elohim, really? What would happen if, when we saw another person, we believed we were seeing God? 

The same happens every time I do a piece of papercut art of a Torah portion, like the "Ha'azinu" piece. When a piece of Torah is requested as a piece of Jewish papercut art, I open the chumash and read the portion, think about it, and let the visuals float to the top.

These are the kinds of things that happen when an artist works with his or her hands and mind. The act of creating something out of real objects, taking real time and real creative energy, connect us to something deeper, and higher. I believe in my heart that people want to own hand-made things for that reason, to be part of the cycle of creation.

This video, an interview with "maker" Renate Hiller, expresses this idea of creation in service to something divine - and to each other - more beautifully than I ever could.




Whether you are an artist, a cook, a gardener, a writer, or someone who sews, make something today.

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  • Marny CA on

    Awesome! Love this!

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