Shoah Forensics II: Re-Creation ex-nihilo

Shoah Forensics II: Re-Creation ex-nihilo
Type: Oil
Dimensions: Width/Height (in inches) 24/36
Year: 2009

Illustrated in this second of a two-paneled painting (diptych) is Herman Moskovitc standing tall, proud and care-free at the tender age of seventeen in his native Kuzmina in the county of Beregszasz in Carpathian Ruthenia, in what was then known as Czechoslovakia , between the two World Wars. His body and soul are re-united. This painting hopefully captures his essence.

He is wearing his best Sabbath suit, which probably does not perfectly fit him.

In the back ground are the Carpathian Mountains and the verdant Carpathian forest. The sun is shining, and its refracted light is reflected in the water below. He is standing on fertile ground with blossoming spring-time flowers. A wandering cow with a tinkling bell followed him from his family’s nearby small farm, and is happily grazing beside him.

In this idyllic setting both men and beasts are free to roam. Neither is branded nor tattooed with numbers. It evokes a place where in Isaiah’s words (66:3); “He that killeth an oxe, is as if he slew a man; he that sacrifices a lamb is as if he broke a dog’s neck…” This prophecy is the inversion of the perverse Nazi philosophy which did not distinguish between man and beast, either, but for the purposes of merciless slaughtering, not saving.

Herman’s name is written in orange Hebrew letters on the purple mountain to the right; “Chaim Tzvi son of Nathan the Levite, Moskovitc”. Written in purple Hebrew on the orange mountain on the right are the words; “born (geboyren in Yiddish) on the fourteenth of Iyar 5687 (May 16, 1927). Written in orange Hebrew letters on the purple mountain to his left are the words “died (niftar; Hebrew/Yiddish) on the sixth of Nisan 5705 (April19, 1945). Written in red Hebrew on the yellow mountain to his right are the words; “May he rest in peace” (Olev HaShalom).

May these two paintings serve as the Matzeva (Tombstone) Herman never had, and may he be remembered as a human being who once was, and whose life was tragically cut short.

It is customary to recite a prayer for the deceased after learning Mishnah in his honor. Since these paintings are visual Midrash painted in his honor, it is appropriate to reproduce this prayer below to further honor him:

“Please, God full of mercy, for in your hand is the soul of all the living, and the spirit of every human being (1), may you find favor in our Torah study and prayer for the soul of the deceased “Chaim Tzvi ben Natan HaLevi” and do with it according to your great kindness, to open for it the gates of mercy and kindness, and the gates of the Garden of Eden. Accept it with love and affection, and send it your holy and pure angels to lead it and to settle it under the tree of life near the souls of the righteous and devout men and women, to enjoy the radiance of your presence, to satiate it from your good that is concealed for the righteous. May the body repose in the grave with proper contentment, pleasure, gladness and peace, as it is written;”Let him enter in peace; let them rest on their beds-everyone who has lived in his proper way “(2). And it is written “let the devout exalt in glory, let them sing joyously upon their beds” (3), and it is written “If you lay down, you will not fear; when you lay down your sleep shall be sweet” (4). And protect him from the tribulations of the grave, and from worms and maggots. Forgive and pardon him for all his sins, for there is no man so wholly righteous on earth that he does good and never sins (5). Remember for him the merits and righteous deeds that he performed, and cause a spiritual flow from his soul to keep his bones fresh in the grave from the abundant good that is concealed for the righteous, as it is written “How abundant is your goodness that you have concealed for your reverent ones” (6), and it is written: “He guards all his bones, even one of them was not broken” (7). May it rest secure alone (8), and serene, from fear of evil and may it not see the threshold of Gehinnom. May his soul be bound in the Bond of Life (9), and may it be brought back to life with the Resuscitation of the Dead with all the dead of your people Israel, with mercy, Amen”.

(1)Job12:10. (2)Isaiah 57:2. (3) Psalms 149:5. (4) Proverbs 3:24 (5) Ecclesiastes 7:20. (6)Psalms 31:20. (7) Psalms 34:21. (8) Deuteronomy 33:28. (9) Samuel I 25:29.

Yisgadel veyiskadesh shmay rabba……………………………