Job’s Wheel of Fortune II: The Beginning of the End(Continued from Job I)

Job’s Wheel of Fortune II: The Beginning of the End (Continued from Job I)
Type: Oil
Dimensions: Width/Height (in inches) 48/60
Year: 2006

With rapid sequence on one day, Job is stripped of all his children and all that he owns. One calamity swiftly follows another. A series of four messengers tell him sequentially that a) the Sabeans raided his oxen and donkeys, and killed all their accompanying servants b) that a fire burned and consumed all his sheep and their accompanying servants, c) that the Chaldeans took his camels and killed their accompanying servants and d) to top it all off, finally and lastly, a great wind smote the corner of the house where his children were gathered causing the house to fall down and kill all his children.

Portrayed in this painting, Job responds by rending his clothes, tearing his skin as he does so, shaving his head, and falling upon the ground. He cries out “naked I came out of my mother’s wound and naked shall I return there. God gives and God takes, may God’s name be blessed”. These words are written above his head and to the left and right. Job at this point completely accepts his fate, and does not question, but instead praises God.

In keeping with Kabalistic interpretation and symbolism, there is a “contraction” or “Tzim Tzum” (written on the Sefirot) of God’s presence in order for this evil to occur. Portrayed on the upper right of the painting, the original large concentrically arranged sun circles have shrunken considerably. Eight out of nine hands have shrunken in size, their forearms have retracted within Ein Sof, and their fingers are no longer spread out in priestly benediction. At the center of the Ein Sof is an eye with a half -closed eyelid, representing the process of divine “hester panim”, “hiding of God’s face”, the closing of his eyes to the misfortunes of man. Written on the eyelid are the words “ayin hagamoor”, “the absolute nothingness” i.e. the anti-Ein Sof, the opposite of God’s extended infinity, the point before creation, before the infinite expansion of all that is. At the ends of all the fingertips of the small hands within the contracted Ein Sof are faces of the sons of God. The bright long rays of light which emanated from their finger tips in the previous panel have now been snuffed out. God’s light no longer bathes Job and his possessions. Rather, at the expense of the retraction of the nine other Sefirot, the Sefira of Din/ Justice emerges enlarged, expanded and raised with priestly malediction above Job’s head. Rather than sun rays emanating from the fingertips are snakes, nachashim, sprouting and surrounding him. The snakes descend and are responsible for tying ropes around the oxen, donkeys and camels, ferreting them away, causing the sheep to be lit on fire (right lower painting), and of course his children’s house to fall down.

Portrayed below Job are his falling, dying and dead, partially buried, ashen children on top of their fractured chess board dancing floor. Flowers cover their graves. On the bottom right is written a version (perversion) of the statement found in Ezekiel, “Behold I close (rather than open) your graves”. Written on the hand above Job is a crossword; reading from right to left are three words which connect; Din-Nachash-Satan, read as Di-N-acha-S-atan. Descending from CH is the down word Chate (HT) or sin. There are several reasons why snakes are used here symbolically for Satan. The word Din (Justice) is a variation of the name Dan, one of Jacobs’s sons’s whose totem symbol is a snake. Secondly the Nachash (snake) in the Garden of Eden is the ultimate symbol of evil. Spell Nachash (NHS) backwards and you almost get Satan (SHN). Take the middle letter Chet (H) and replace it with a Tet (T), the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and you get STN or Satan. You take the middle letter from Nachash, (H), and the middle letter of Satan (Tet) put them together and you get HT (Chate) i.e. sin. Written on the arm’s forehand are the words “forearm raised high”, which later in Job is the symbolic description of evil.

The sky surrounding Job is darkening and is now ominous. Black, not red, birds are descending down like vultures ready to feed on the newly minted corpses. On the upper left of the painting, the descending red birds turn black as soon as they enter Job’s orbit. On the upper right hand side of the painting, if the black birds manage to leave Job’s orbit they once again turn red and beautiful.

Written on the red portion of Job’s garment is the rearrangement of the four letters of his word to spell AVBY, pronounced Oy Vey. Written on the orange portion of his garment are the same words found in panel I; “Pure and straight, and fearful of God, and avoids evil”. Written on the middle portion of his red garment is the letter Yud (Y) the second letter of his name. Each panel from right to left sequentially spells AYVB or Eyuv so that when reading from right to left, the four panels collectively spell his name, one letter per panel.