Sunday, May 1, 2016


By Ernest and Gregory Disney-Britton
“Saphyr (Omer Counter),” 24 x 18 x 5.5 inches, acrylic on wood, 49 individual sculptures in a larger housing component, 2015. Photo courtesy of Tobi Kahn
Tobi Kahn is a Jewish painter and sculptor with a commitment to religious art, including his Omer Counters. According to the Old Testament, we are called to "...count for yourselves -- from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven Shabbats, they shall be complete..." This is from Leviticus 23:15-16. "Saphyr" (above) is a grid with 49 pegs that mark the 49-days between the holy days of Passover through Shavuot, the day when God gave the Jewish people the "Torah" also known as the Five Books of Moses. Question of week: When does Jewish law also apply to Christians?

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1 comment:

Ernest Disney-Britton said...

I am grateful to artist Tobi Kahn for calling my attention to this funny book of Leviticus. It's a "funny book" because Christians ignore the rules inside that we don't like, and we follow the ones that come easy. It's easy to hate gay people, so we cite 20:13 to justify discrimination. At the same time, I guess that counting the omer (23:15-16) requires too much thinking, so we don't follow that one. Kahn's "Saphyr (Omer Counter)" is a daily act of engagement with the law, and with religious art. It requires prayerful daily placement of one of Kahn's unique sculptures to count out the 49-days leading up to Shavuot.