Jewish Leadership Part 22 Redeeming Science and Art
We will now turn our attention from a more general discussion of the interplay between physical and spiritual to a closer look at the varied arts and sciences and their relationship to Torah and the Jewish soul. There are two basic disciplines of art--the audible art of music and the visual arts such as drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture. Music can be redeemed even in exile while the visual arts, dependent spiritually on the existence of the Temple, await their true redemption. Music has been a source of comfort to the Jewish People throughout their many exiles, inspiring a rich tradition of music for nearly every occasion. The visual arts on the other hand were for the most part limited to ritual art in the drab reality of the ghettos or designated pale of settlements, where most Jews were confined. The Temple represents the visual arts in their full splendor, combining all artistic endeavors in a unified vision. The Tabernacle in the desert and later the Temple in Jerusalem symbolized not only the microcosm of the created universe, but a holy space where G-d revealed, in a greater degree than anywhere else, His glory on earth. The destruction of the Temple represents the diminished spiritual vision of the visual arts and its rebuilding will be accompanied by a burst of creative artistic energy.
While both science and art, according to Kabbalah, have their ultimate source in the unconscious realm of the sefirah of keter, art emanates from a much higher super-conscious sphere. When revealed in the world, science must enclothe itself within the conscious intellect in order to be understood. Art always maintains its connection to the unconscious. In fact, the more subtle the connection to the mysterious and intangible strata of the soul, the greater the work of art becomes. Science deals in clear and precise terms, while art and music reveal the more indefinable awareness of G-d's grace in the soul. A Jewish melody has the power to arouse Jewish consciousness and a sense of Divine grace even in a person far removed from his connection to G-d and Torah. Science on the other hand, even when revealed by a Jew, does not necessarily remind him of his Jewishness.
The nature of Divine grace when revealed in art and music brings with it an awareness that it is a "gift" from G-d, whereas science operates more in the area of merit, which by itself does not warrant any particular spiritual arousal. This dynamic is reflected in G-d saving Noah due to his "finding grace in the eyes of G-d." There is a definite and unique grace found in every Jewish soul which elicits G-d's continual compassion upon it. This innate aspect of soul which should naturally reveal itself in every realm of existence is still to a great extent in a state of exile. Instead of Jews developing this inherent Jewish quality by accessing it through a natural Torah life cycle, we see Jews everywhere copying foreign cultures, which serves only to blur the innate and refined sense of science and art present within every Jewish soul. It is the role of the contemporary Jewish leader to encourage the redemption of both science and art by revealing their source and unity in Torah and by endowing them with their true purpose of revealing G-d's presence and His will, as prescribed in Torah, in every aspect of life and at every level of consciousness.