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‘Shabbat: A Taste of Heaven’

Drawing by Mark Podwal

Mark Podwal. Credit: Wikipedia.
Mark Podwal
Mark Podwal is an artist in New York. He has illustrated many of the books of his friend Elie Wiesel, and his work can be found in major museums, Jewish and non-Jewish, worldwide.

Mark Podwal’s “Shabbat: A Taste of Heaven,” an acrylic and colored pencil drawing on paper, was part of his 2003 exhibition “A Sweet Year” at the Israel Museum Ruth Youth Wing in Jerusalem. (His book A Sweet Year: A Taste of the Jewish Holidays came out the same year.)

Shabbat, 2002 by Mark Podwal
“Shabbat: A Taste of Heaven” (2002) by Mark Podwal. Credit: Mark Podwal.

“When the Jewish people were gathered at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, God told them that olam habah (the world to come) would be their reward for keeping the commandments,” the New York artist tells JNS, quoting “Otiot D’Rabbi Akiva” (the Alphabet of Rabbi Akiva) from Otzar Midrashim (Anthology of Midrashim), penned in 1915 by Judah David Eisenstein.

“The Jews asked God, ‘How do we know that olam habah is so great?’ God wasn’t upset. He knew that heaven is where we experience the pure and unadulterated pleasure of the infinite God. So He said, ‘No problem. I’ll send you a sample. Shabbat,'” Podwal adds. “Thus, the sages say that Shabbat is ‘a taste of heaven on earth.’ If heaven is pure spirituality, then Shabbat is a taste of that experience.”

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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