Parshat Toldot — תולדות

001brain01amixed materials on canvas 40″ x 40″ (102 x 102 cm)

Yakov (Jacob) versus Eisav (Esau)

The conflict between Yakov (Jacob)
and Eisav (Esau)
as a metaphor for the struggle
within our own brain
between the good and evil inclinations.

Another way of understanding the conflict:
Yakov or (as he is later called) Yisroel (Israel)
is the earnest yeshiva boy who would like
only to sit and learn in the Tents of Torah study
separated from material reality.
וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם יֹשֵׁב אֹהָלִים
Eisav is the “potential” Baal Tsuvah who fails
his mission to elevate his great energies
and falls into the depths of evil.
To correct this Yakov has to change his
character and learn to deal with
the duplicity of the world
emulating the external trappings of Eisav,
but retaining his inner spiritual voice:
הַקֹּל קוֹל יַעֲקֹב וְהַיָּדַיִם יְדֵי עֵשָׂו
The voice is the voice of Yakov
but the hands are the hands of Eisav
(Genesis 27:22)

The Liver versus the Heart

wax13xw2 diptych -airbrushed acrylics on canvas 18″ x 36″ (46 x 92 cm)

The Zohar describes the above conflict in a
surprisingly anatomical context.
Eisav is the Liver – both being large and red.
Eisav whose Tribe is Edom אֱדוֹם (the color red)
thus associates with the red lentils
for which he sold his birthright
הַלְעִיטֵנִי נָא מִן-הָאָדֹם הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה
“Stuff that red stuff down my throat!”
and bloodshed שְׁפִיכוּת דָּמִים.
His planet is of course Mars מַאְדִים.

The Liver (originating as the placenta)
can be considered the “first born”
in the development of the embryo,
its job and function being to filter
the bad blood and nutrients.

Yakov is the Heart
the essential organ which distributes
the good blood though out the body
including the Brain.
Although the Liver is a much larger
organ (in size) than the Heart
it must work in tandem
and accept the “leadership”
of the Heart, according to the prophecy
at the beginning of the Parsha (Gen 25:23):
וְרַב יַעֲבֹד צָעִיר
The Elder (or the larger) will serve
the Younger (or smaller)

If Eisav as the Liver refuses to accept this
then the body and the world can not survive.

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About the Author
Dov Lederberg is engaged in the converging vectors of art and science, but receives added inspiration from Kabbalah teachings & meditation and tries to create visual forms (in paintings on canvas but also video art) conducive to mystical experience and self-transformation. 
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