Israel Its universal aspect appeals to the entire family of man. Thousands of commentaries have been written on the Book of Books, each generation seeking and finding in the Hebrew Bible sources of spiritual and ethical piration.
Jewish exegetes take a different approach from that of Christian commentators as well as of Islamic interpreters who also saw in the Bible the fundament of their monotheistic faith.
Like these scholars, writers and artists of many nations and periods have found in the Bible an unfailing source of inspiration for their creative work in literature, music, art and sculpture, each in different texts and styles but all rooted in the Bible, its stories, its heroes and its ideas.
The works of art of the early masters, rich as they may have been, have not exhausted the potential of creativity of the modern artists of our own day. Daniel Ophir has searched and found his unique form of expression in depicting the personalities and events related in the Hebrew Bible. He has revealed a special talent in the techniques applied in his 114 paintings, all characterized by their individual appeal and modern approach.He has not left out a single Book of the Bible, and he has put to canvas images and events that have not been treated by earlier painters.
Ophir has wielded his painter's brush in a novel style on glass, making use of its transparency, variegated colours, and interplay of light and shadow, to add a special meaning to the Biblical story. He has blended the Earthly Jerusalem with the Heavenly City in the spirit of the Sages of the Midrash.
Although the Torah presents the idea of God in totally abstract terms, it allows for the artful portrayal of the seven-branched Menorah, as well as of other appurtenances of the Sanctuary. Daniel Ophir has also chosen a way of semi-abstract approach to convey that which occurs between the lines of the Script, by the blending of thought and feeling.
Painting no. 1-"And the earth was without form".
In the first painting, "And the earth was without form", we can see the void, but within the void a divine energy is apparent. In this original representation we can clearly sense the primal beginnings of life in growing things and in living creatures.
Painting no. 10 - The depiction of the flood.
In the depiction of the flood (No.10) we can see the destruction of the old world, but also the budding of the new.
Painting no. 27 - Burning Bush
In the painting of the Burning Bush, Dan Ophir, using a special technique of coloured glass, has succeeded to express a notion of the Covenant between God and Israel, symbolizing the eternity of the Jewish people.
Painting no. 33 -The revelation on Mount Sinai.
The revelation on Mount Sinai (No. 33) pictures the dynamic forces of nature erupting, yet tempered by the word of God. The holy symbol binds together the natural force and the divine spark in man.
Painting no. 58 - The vision of the "Latter Days".
In the vision of the "Latter Days", the artist holds out a delightful expression of longed-for universal peace in a perfect world: peace between individual, between nations, and even between man and beast. Thus the artist combines the idyllic pre-original-Sin era with the ideal End of the Days.
It seems that here an optimistic way for the fate of Creation has been outlined: Confidence in Man and his eternal spirit. Human history is progressing towards and good, for the land shall be filled with devotion to the Lord (Is.11,9).
The paintings delight the eye through their aesthetic beauty, and stir the emotions through their symbolism. They are a worthy fruition of long years of search, experimentation, and dedicated creativity.
The Sages have said: There are seventy faces to the Torah. Rabbi Hayim Vital in his cabbalistic "Hagilgulim" as that there are six hundred thousand faces to the Torah. Whether seventy or six hundred thousand, Daniel Ophir has given us one more face, a new non-conventional interpretation of the Book of Books. I am confident that his paintings will arouse interest and provide both spiritual and visual pleasure to many viewers.
May they find wide acceptance and in the worin Israel ld at large.
Professor Chaim Gevaryahu
Chairman of the World Jewish Bible Society