Baal Tefilah

1961

Bronze. 62 x 55 x 33 cm

A Baal Tefilah is a reader of prayers on religious  occasions. This figure was inspired by one of Herman Wald’s most revered friends, Rabbi Newman, head of an orthodox congregation in Netanya, Israel. It depicts a bearded man wearing a shtreimel (a fur hat worn by married Chassidic men), immersed in the chanting of a religious melody. His figure melts into space, becoming more spiritual than corporeal. The line of his torso and arms indicates the letter “lamed” which means “to learn” or “to teach”.  His right arm is firmly earthed as it clasps the base with all its might, while the gesture of the left hand is directed towards heaven,  exhorting the congregation to reach higher  spiritual realms.  His head is tilted backwards, indicating disdain of the world and devotion to the divine.

 © Kaplan Centre

Images reproduced by kind permission of Louis Wald

The Life and Art of

HERMAN WALD

(1906-1970)