God blessed the seventh day and declared it to be holy. (Genesis 2:3)
“Day Seven” was the last in the series “The Seven Days of Creation.” For each respective day, Raanan chose a fitting under-layer. Surprisingly, the one he chose for “Day Seven” was dark and dominated by intense shades of red. It was a challenge to transform the dark tones and infuse the painting with golden hues – a metaphor for the transformative power of Shabbat.
The imagery in “Day Seven” was inspired by Kegavna, a kabbalistic passage (Zohar Terumah 134a) recited at the beginning of the Sabbath, which expresses how joy replaces sorrow as the forces of darkness flee from the advancing light of Shabbat.
When Shabbat arrives, she unifies herself in Oneness [the Oneness below paralleling the Oneness above] and disperses the Sitra Achra [the dark forces of evil]. All harsh judgments are removed from her, and she remains alone with the Oneness of the holy light ... All wrathful dominions and bearers of grievance flee together, and there is no power other than hers in all the worlds. Her face glows with a heavenly light. … When Shabbat arrives ... she crowns herself with many crowns for the Holy King ... She takes the holy people below as her crown, and they all crown themselves with new souls.
The more one looks at the painting, the more crowns one sees – crowns within crowns and crowns within mountains. The Talmud relates that when the Jewish People gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, they each received “double crowns” of spiritual perception/or expanded consciousness. The people could see the voice of truth commanding them to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Every Shabbat, as we light our candles, this potential is returned to us as we are crowned with an “extra soul” of expanded consciousness – the capacity for increased physical rest and spiritual delight.
In the painting, two candlesticks delicately rest on subtle crowns. Tinged with soft magenta hues, they look like ethereal pillars that form a doorway on a diagonal staircase which moves upward to receive once again the crowns of the “extra soul” enabling peace and joy. This symbol reflects our climb out of the mundane into a spiritual realm that can only be reached on Shabbat.