Mel Alexenberg
Author of "Through a Bible Lens"

Is KUZU written on the doorposts of your house?

Learn about KUZU in a creative exploration of this week’s Torah portion Ekev in the excerpt below from my book Photograph God: Creating a Spiritual Blog of Your Life.

The book describes the Torah Tweets blogart project that my wife Miriam and I created to celebrate our 52nd year of marriage.  During each of the 52 weeks of our 52nd year, we posted six photographs reflecting our life together with a text of tweets that relates the weekly Torah reading to our lives.

See all the photographs and Torah tweets for Ekev that explain how KUZU sets God in motion

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KUZU SETS GOD YHVH IN MOTION

Ekev/Because (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Bind them [Torah words] as a sign upon your arm and let them be an ornament between your eyes.  Teach your children to discuss them, when you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, and when you retire and arise. 

And write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates.  (Deuteronomy 11:18-20)

KUZU is written up-side-down on the outside of a parchment scroll placed in a mezuzah housing that is attached to a doorpost.

On the inside of this mini-Torah scroll is “Hear O Israel, God YHVH is our Lord ELOHAYNU, God YHVH is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

K-U-Z-U is spelled with each of the Hebrew letters that follow Y-H-V-H. K follows Y; U follows H; Z follows V; and U follows H.

It is as if we were to write GOD as HPE, H being the letter following G, P the letter following O, and E the letter following D.

KUZU is written to teach that God, YHVH (Is-Was-Will be), cannot be experienced as a static object, but rather as dynamic process.

KUZU is written up-side-down to invite us to learn Torah with our children from multiple vantage points as part of the flow of life.

Miriam created home size and synagogue size mezuzah housings in her ceramics studio in our former home in Teaneck, NJ.

She made a silver mezuzah housing as a medusa with tentacles that move when touched. The word mezuzah is related to zaz (move).

In Guatemala, Mel carved a mezuzah housing from mahogany wood spiraling around a test tube capped with a 13 petal rose.

A Jew spirals a leather strap around his arm flowing out from the tefillin box.  He then forms the branching Hebrew letter shin on his hand.

Spirals and branches symbolize living systems, from spiraling palms to branching cedars and from DNA to our circulatory and nervous systems.

It [Torah] is a tree of life to those who grasp it.  A righteous person will flourish like a date palm, like a Lebanon cedar he will grow tall. (Proverbs 4:2, Psalm 92:13)

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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