Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Poetry at Drisha

One of my first lectures at Drisha was a talk on this week's parsha (Torah portion). The portion is called Ha'azina (Deut. 32). What was really exciting for me was that this portion is written mostly in the form of a song or poem. Not that I liked the poem---though perhaps if I could understand the Hebrew, it may have been better---but it was exciting to find my art in the core of the text. What we talked about is how this poem is what was given to the Israelites to commit to memory---to become oral Torah---the poem takes on much significance, not just to be a reminder of the text---but to move beyond the text of the Torah, much like a good ekphrastic poem would do. What this means is that there is a key place for art and for the power of language in the realm of Jewish law---not that I doubted this---there's so much Midrash and room for interpretation. But this passage demonstrates the value of using the arts in correlation with Torah.

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