I link Balak, the seventh portion of the biblical book Numbers, to the eruv as a conceptual and kinetic artform that symbolizes community honoring individuality. It is read in synagogues in Israel on Shabbat, July 16, 2016, and in USA on July 23, 2016.
The eruv creates a communal public space that permits observant Jews to carry on the Sabbath. Most cities and villages in Israel have an eruv surrounding them constructed of poles linked by a string or wire. Jewish communities in the Diaspora, generally define space by linking things already there, such as telephone lines, electric wires, river banks, and the backs of buildings,
COMMUNITY HONORING INDIVIDUALITY
(From the “Torah Tweets” blogart project http://bibleblogyourlife.com created by my wife Miriam and me, and in my book Photograph God http://photographgod.com.)
Along the hill's ridge, 10 different hand-washing vessels created by Miriam's students reflected the distinctive vision of each student.
Building an eruv is a communal act that creates community while n’tilat yadaim is the private act that highlights individuality revealed in the uniqueness of fingerprints. The denizens both of Sodom and of Haman's Persia idolized bureaucratic standardization that denied individuality.