Isaac went forth to pray in the field towards evening, and he raised his eyes and saw…camels approaching.” (Genesis 24:63)
The solitary figure of Isaac stands immersed in prayer, integrated with the landscape which surrounds him. The Hebrew word for prayer used in this passage – suach − is similar to the word siach, plant. In the painting, we feel this connection as Isaac communes with the Divine energy flowing from nature. “Suach” expresses an intense “pouring of prayer.” (Rashi). We see this “outpouring” in the energetic strokes of paint that seem to fly toward the sky from Isaac’s figure, sometimes taking the form of birds. Day is drawing to a close, and the last rays of light fill the sky with an explosion of color. The full spectrum of color adds luminosity and harmony to this intense moment in time. Isaac’s prayer in the field as the sun is setting is the source of Minchah, the afternoon prayer. As Isaac “goes forth” from the realm of mundane affairs, he paves a pathway that opens for all future generations. Standing on the path that opens into the horizon, we are told that he sees camels approaching. Although we do not see camels in the painting, we perceive a light coming from the distance, the approaching presence of his soul-mate, Rebecca.