Tag Archives: The Scream

#TieBlog #Vayera #TheScream

29 Oct
Edvard Munch's "The Scream" has multiple connections to Parashat Vayera.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” has multiple connections to Parashat Vayera.

When I found a tie with Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” it was clear to me that it would be perfect for Parashat Vayera. The question is what specific connection or “tie-in” it has. The next question is what kind of a scream is represented? Is it a scream of terror or a scream of joy? If the latter, perhaps it’s the aged Sarah expressing her shock that she is going to give birth to a son. On the terror side there are multiple options. It could be Abraham hearing about God’s planned destruction of Sodom and Amorah and his righteous indignation that the just might perish with the wicked. It could be the wife of Lot gazing upon Sodom and Amorah as they burn from fire and brimstone. She turns into a pillar of salt from the shock. Or perhaps it’s Sarah upon learning of the near sacrifice of her son Isaac (Sarah dies at the beginning of the next portion). It could be all of these things, making this one loud, action-packed Torah portion.

#TieBlog #Behukotai

16 May
Edvard Munch's "The Scream" evokes the emotions intended by the reading of the "Tochecha" (reproof) Leviticus 26: 14-45.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” evokes the emotions intended by the reading of the “Tokheha” (reproof) Leviticus 26: 14-45.

Parashat Behukotai concludes the book of Leviticus. The portion begins with a promise of blessings for the Israelites if they follow God’s ways. This section is then followed by a lengthy and chilling series of curses known as the Tokheha (Reproof). The curses are spelled out in length in the hope that they will put fear into the hearts of those who cannot be persuaded to do what is right by any other means. As this portion is read in synagogue, it is customary for the reader to read through the Tokheha in an undertone, perhaps because its vision of disaster is so frightening–or perhaps in keeping with Leviticus’s commitment to the reality of words, to say something aloud is halfway to making it happen. (Rabbi Harold Kushner, Etz Hayim, p. 747). In my tie wardrobe, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” seems to fit the bill perfectly as an emotional reaction to this portion.