16 June 2006

How to Photograph God: Kabbalah through a Creative Lens

I am working on a book based upon projects with my students at Emuna College in Jerusalem and Ariel University that will be titled: How to Photograph God: Kabbalah through a Creative Lens 

(The book was published in 2015 with the title: PHOTOGRAPH GOD: CREATING A SPIRITUAL BLOG OF YOUR LIFE.) 
Below is an excerpt from the introduction to the book:
"Focus your camera lens on God and you will see God looking back at you. Seeing God is seeing divine light reflected from every facet of your life. The ancient wisdom of kabbalah will help you recognize that you have been looking at God all the time but missed the action.

You only see light. You have never seen your mother, father, spouse, or children. You only have seen the light reflected from them. You only see light passing through your eye’s lens, stimulating the rods and cones in your retina, and transmitting the forms and colors of those you love to your brain. Just as you enjoy seeing your loved ones from the light they reflect, you can find joy seeing divine light reflected from every place you look. This book teaches how to see the spectrum of divine light through your camera lens."

Photographing Tiferet/Beauty
My student, Roni Levi, photographed the birthing of a calf, an awesome event expressing tiferet/beauty as the vital balance between the farmer's hesed/compassion and gevurah/strength in helping bring new life into the world.

Seeing God through a ViewfinderThe project that I assigned my students at the College of Judea and Samaria and Emunah College of the Arts in Israel was to photograph God – to document processes revealing six divine attributes in their everyday life.
Hesed: Compassion / Largess / Loving All
Gevurah: Strength / Judgment / Setting Limits
Tiferet: Beauty / Aesthetic Balance / Inner Elegance
Netzakh: Success / Orchestration / Eternity
Hod: Splendor / Gracefulness / Magnificence
Yesod: Integration / Foundation of Everything/ Gateway to Action

Seeing God is Getting in Touch with Reality
Rabbi David Aaron wrote an insightful book, Seeing God, (New York: Berkley Books, 2001), using kabbalistic insights to illuminate how we can see divine light all around us. He shares my discomfort using the word “God,” a Germanic word conjuring up images of some all-powerful being zapping us if we step out of line. He calls God Hashem, literally “The Name” in Hebrew, the name of the nameless One encompassing all of reality and beyond. He writes:

Hashem does not exist in reality – Hashem is reality. And we do not exist alongside Hashem, we exist within Hashem, within the reality that is Hashem. Hashem is the place. Indeed, Hashem is the all-embracing context for everything. So there can’t be you and God standing side by side in reality. There is only one reality that is Hashem, and you exist in Hashem…. Everything is in Hashem, Hashem is in everything, but Hashem is beyond everything…. Seeing God is all about getting in touch with reality.
Like the spectral colors that make up white light, we can see the spectrum of divine light in our everyday world as the attributes of compassion, strength, beauty, success, splendor, and integration.

To see more go to:
Photograph God BlogGo to www.photographgod.com