There are always new layers of meaning and emotion waiting to be discovered in the Shema - the centrepiece of Jewish prayer. Beyond the obvious religious importance of this declaration of faith, the Shema also offers insight into philosophical elements shared by Jews around the world. This calligraphy artwork is inspired by the first word of the prayer: ‘Hear!’
To me, the Shema is above all a call for attentiveness. If we listen well enough, we will sense the oneness of the world and God. This Oneness, which lies far beyond the grasp of rational understanding, can only reveal itself through an immediate perception of the senses. In this piece I seek to convey this decree to listen and to perceive this oneness by using the three Hebrew letters comprising the word ‘Shema’. The letters stretch upwards, connecting heaven and earth, divine and mundane, pointing out the interconnection of everything that exists, at a hearing’s reach.
Gabriel Wolff is a Hebrew calligrapher.
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