The wedding ring of Creation of the world


The wedding ring of Creation of the world

70 cm x 50 cm
ink on paper
test: the poem of Amitay Ben Shefatya (late ninth century) born in Southern Italy, head of the yeshiva in his native Oria. The poem speaks about Creation of the world as a first wedding made by God for Adam and Chava.


The Lord, who revealed the end from
the beginning and from ancient times
prepared what is yet to be, says: ‘My
design shall last for generations to

When He resolved to create the Bridegroom
and Bride, He made all the
necessary provisions, so that their
descendants would be instructed in the
order of marriage.

He build the frame of the celestial roof
and laid its beams; then quickly
constructed their bridal bower and
created light to shine upon their

In truth, most fearsome are Your
deeds, O Fearful One! When a human
being makes a form, he can do nothing
without sight and study; but You,
O Creator, can make a form within a
form [in the womb], O Holy One!

On the second day, He added an upper
storey, beautifully adorned, and
created the groomsmen [=angels], to sing and
strike the timbrels; and He stoked a
fiery furnace to burn the adulterers.

On the third day, He assembled the
waters, thus clearing a stage for the
players; He brought forth trees, for
pleasure and delight, and made a royal
garden for their bridal chambers.

On the fourth day, He lit up to
torch-like lamps, which even gusts of
wind and pouring rain could not put
out; and He lit all the others for
beauty’s sake, to adorn the bridal

On the fifth day, He summoned every
kind of bird and fish, with which He
would prepare a meal for the venerable
celebrants; and He hid away Ziz and
Leviathan for the companies of the

On the sixth day, He mustered all kinds
of beasts and cattle to provide abundant
food; and He stored away Behemoth
for the righteous on the day of redemption.

The Benign One saw that everything
was now beautiful, and the table set
with many fine dishes, but as yet no
bride and groom stood under the

He made the groom more radiant than
the globe of the sun, made his body
tower from the earth to heaven; but later
[after the Fall] reduced him to a
thousand ells.

He set up twelve bridal chambers of
carnelian, topaz, gold, chrysolite and
diamond; and the angels called to him:

Then, placing him in the precious
bridal bed, He put him to sleep. He
took one of his ribs, and dressed it up
as a girl; He bathed her, anointed and
adorned her, and plaited her hair.

He entrusted her to the thousands and
myriads of angels who ushered her in
with song. All the attendants arranged
themselves in rows, the sun and the
moon dancing like maidens before

Her husband found her lovely and
delightful, and God Himself gave them
His perfect blessing. And all responded:
‘Let the groom rejoice with his bride!’

He told His groomsmen to set the
jewelled table, to put benches and soft
chairs all around it, to serve the meat
and pour out fine wine.

While still in their bridal bower, He
imposed upon them a single prohibition [not to eat of the tree
of knowledge]. They did not heed it and,
but for the intervention of the Sabbath
Day, would have been doomed to the Pit.

A limit was set to their time, and the
end of their life arrived. Ever since then
their offspring are fated to be fertile and
increase, and then in the end to die.

The ‘pure ones’ have made this their
custom for all generations: to betroth,
to consecrate with a ring, and to rejoice
in their marriage within the bridal

Now, ‘those whom You carried since
birth’ approach You joyfully to
celebrate – with awe, not with arrogance –
and they conclude their
blessing thus: ‘If only we were in
Jerusalem on this day!’

They beg You for mercy, O Hallowed
and Fearful One. Gather the exiles, so
that they may sing a new song as they
rejoice in the restored Temple.

Praise and glory to Your name, O my
God, for You have shown mercy to a
lowly, wretched generation. Now let
us say: ‘He has kept us alive, He has
brought us to the present moment!’

May You always grant Your loved ones
a happy end, so that they may declare
Your unity forever. Now all rise to
sanctify You with fear and trembling.

(from: Hebrew Verse, ed. by T. Carmi, Penguin Books 1981)