Mel Alexenberg
Author of "Through a Bible Lens"

Cyberangels of Peace Fly throughout the World

“He had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as Divine angels were going up and down on it.” (Genesis 28:12)

The preeminent biblical commentator Rashi (11th century, France) taught that the angels ascending and descending the ladder in Jacob’s dream go up from the Land of Israel and come down to earth throughout the world.

Digital technologies give me the power to make this vision a reality by launching animated Rembrandt angels from Jerusalem in Israel to the JerUSAlems in twelve states of USA that have places named JerUSAlem and then to nations around the globe. See http://jerusalem-USA.blogspot.com.

I am creating international digital art events that launch cyberangels worldwide. These events celebrate launching my new book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media that is available on Amazon. The book’s cover above shows cyberangels ascending from a satellite photo of the Land of Israel on a smartphone screen. See http://throughabiblelens.blogspot.com.

Cyberangels as Messengers of Peace

The biblical word for “angel” and “messenger” are one and the same in Hebrew. Cyberangels are messengers of peace rising up from the Land of Israel and descending into each of the seventy biblical nations populated by the descendants of Noah that God “separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations” (Genesis 10: 5). They convey God’s message that the nations of the world are not meant to speak one language as in the disastrous Tower of Babel episode. Each nation has its unique and distinct voice to contribute to the grand planetary choir singing God’s praise.

Peace upon You, Angels of Peace

The Hebrew word shalom means “peace.” It is a greeting for both coming and going. In Israel where I live, when I see a friend approaching, I greet him by saying “shalom.”   When a guest leaves my home, I also say “shalom.” Shalom is akin to the word shalem, meaning “wholeness,” the integration of material and spiritual realms.

The Sabbath eve meal in a Jewish home begins with the people gathered around the table singing the traditional song Shalom Aleichem (“Peace upon You”):

Peace upon you, ministering angels, angels of the Highest, from the King who reigns over kings, the Holy One, blessed is He. May your coming be in peace, angels of peace…. Bless me with peace, angels of peace…. May your departure be in peace, angels of peace, messengers of the Highest, from the King who reigns over kings, the Holy One, blessed is He.”

The words of the song were composed four centuries ago in the Galilee town of Tzfat (Safed) by Jews involved in exploring kabbalah, the down-to-earth spiritual tradition of Judaism. Surprisingly, the well-known melody for the song, thought of as a centuries-old folk tune, was composed by the American composer Rabbi Israel Goldfarb in 1918 at Columbia University where he earned a degree in music education. (He studied in the same Columbia Teachers College building where I was professor of art and education in the 1970’s.)

45 years after Rabbi Goldfarb composed the music for Shalom Aleichem, he wrote: “The popularity of the melody traveled not only throughout this country but throughout the world, so that many people came to believe that the song was handed down from Mt. Sinai by Moses.” Shalom Aleichem played by the renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman creates an ethereal energy appropriate for launching cyberangels worldwide. You can hear it at   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BDaDfmBQXA

“Angel” and “food” are written with the Same Hebrew Letters  

The biblical words for “angel” and “food” are written with the same four Hebrew letters to tell us that angels are spiritual messages arising from everyday life.

The Bible (Genesis 18:1-8) relates how three angels disguised as men appeared to Abraham while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. When he looked up and saw them a short distance from him, he ran to greet them and invited them to stay to eat. He rushed to his wife, Sarah, and asked her to bake cakes for their guests.

Then Abraham ran to the cattle to choose a tender, choice calf. The Midrash, a centuries-old biblical commentary, questions why Abraham ran after the calf. It tells that he ran after the calf because it ran away from him into a cave. Abraham discovered that he had entered the burial place of Adam and Eve. He was drawn to intense light emanating from an opening at the end of the cave. As he approached, he saw the Garden of Eden through the opening.

This deeply spiritual person, the patriarch Abraham, found himself standing at the entrance to Paradise. About to cross over the threshold into the pristine garden, he remembered that his wife and three guests were waiting for lunch back at the tent. What should he do? Should he trade Paradise for a barbeque? The Bible tells us that he chose to return to the tent and join his wife in making lunch for the three strangers. They sat together in the shade of a tree enjoying the food that Abraham and Sarah had prepared.

Angels are Spiritual Messages Arising from Everyday Life

In his review of my book, Dr. Jim Solberg, USA National Director of Bridges for Peace and author of Sinai Speaks, points out how Jews and Christians who share an abiding love of the Bible seek spirituality in everyday life.

Through a Bible Lens offers a unique and personal challenge to the reader to integrate Bible Study, the creation that surrounds us, and our personal experience into a “living journal.”  Dr. Alexenberg’s approach offers a fun, yes fun, path to integrate pondering the deepest questions of Scripture with modern living and a literally visual journey through life.  Written from a Jewish Torah loving perspective, this book will be a joy to any lover of the Bible, Christian or Jewish.  I not only endorse it, I look forward to integrating these ideas into my personal encounter with Scripture”

My dialogue with Dr. Solberg lead me to learn how Bridges for Peace builds relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world by merging spiritual and material realms. The Bridges of Peace website quotes from Isaiah (58:10-11):

“If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.”

Their Food Project provides over three tons of food every working day to needy people in communities throughout Israel from their food banks in Jerusalem and Karmiel, a city in the Galilee a short drive from Tzvat where the words for the song Shalom Aleichem “Peace upon You, Angels of Peace” was composed more than 400 years ago.

About the Author
Mel Alexenberg is an artist, educator, writer, and blogger working at the interface between art, technology, Jewish thought, and living the Zionist miracle in Israel. He is the author of "Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media," "The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness," and "Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Judaism and Contemporary Art" in Hebrew. He was professor at Columbia, Bar-Ilan and Ariel universities and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. His artworks are in the collections of more than forty museums worldwide. He lives in Ra’anana, Israel, with his wife artist Miriam Benjamin.
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