Excerpt from Personal Letter to Couple
It is the greatest honor and privilege to place your kettubah, the work of my heart and soul—inspired by your hearts and souls—into your hands. This illumination was a havruta, a deep partnership, on so many levels; I felt truly inspired as this colorful creation came to fruition.
Ever since the two of you shared with me that A’s Bar Mitzvah parashah was Bereshit and A’s Vayakhel-Pekudei, I have not been able to set aside the artfulness, serendipity and sense of etzbah Elohim (the ‘finger of God’)! The two of you were created for each other. Thematically, I mentioned to you how a number of rabbis and commentators have pointed out the similarities between the creation of the world and the building of the Tabernacle. Your kettubah reflects this guiding theme. The work is crafted around sevens. Framing the kettubah, we have excerpts from each one of the ‘sheva brachot.’ The idea is that these blessings form not only the physical frame of your kettubah, but they also form the spiritual and emotional frame through which the two of you together will build a ‘bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael’—a house immersed in the traditions of Israel. Like Torah, the excerpts from the blessings juxtapose an opaque quality to translucence: presence and absence play off of one another . . . defining blessings that will inspire your life together as well as future, as yet unimagined blessings that will fill your joint world.
On the left side of the kettubah, you see seven vignettes—representing the six days of Creation leading into Shabbat. The right side of the kettubah corresponds to each of the ‘building blocks’ of the Tabernacle. Parashat Vayakhel lists seven essential items: the Aron, Table, Menorah, Incense altar, Anointing oil, Sacrificial altar and Laver. Additionally at the foundation and crown of the kettubah are represented seven magnificent human qualities described in Vayakhel-Pekudei: nadiv libo (generosity of heart), chacham lev (heartfelt wisdom), n’sa’o libo (raising of the spirit), chochmah (wisdom), binah (insight), da’at (knowledge), and nedavha rucho (expansiveness of spirit). Not only were these essential qualities to the building of the Tabernacle which was said to contain the Presence of God, but they are attributes by which the two of you will affirm God’s Image and bring God’s Presence into the loving space you will call home. At the center cartouche of the kettubah, one sees a contemporary representation of Jerusalem, fulfilling the verse that Jerusalem be raised above our chiefest joys. Psalms 132:13-14 is quoted: “For God has chosen Zion (Jerusalem); God desired it for His seat. ‘This is My resting place for all time; here I will dwell, for I desire it.’ “
The overall design is contemporary—with strong, animated colors. Ancient wisdom and traditions are placed side by side with modern, emotive illumination – representing the love-filled fusion that will be the lives and home of A and A.
I wish you both a life full of bracha, health, generosity and love. May you always know and feel the love of family and God’s Presence.
In love, in admiration and in friendship, Matt