We’re constantly looking for ways to make the Torah come alive. For good reason too. However powerful it may be, a 2,500-year-old text can frequently seem without feeling, without motivation, without color. (Literally)
As the saying goes “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” There have been many attempts to visualize the Torah over the years with picture books, comic strips, and even movies. But it’s 2017 and to put it bluntly:
If one picture can say 1,000 words, then how many words can a moving picture say?
Welcome to #GIFTheTorah. An attempt to communicate the key moments, key ideas, and key concepts of the weekly Torah portion in GIF form. Of course, there is no true substitute for serious study and engagement with the biblical text directly, so please don’t mistake this as an attempt to replace real study. It is intended as a fun supplement – to catch a new eye, to explain a new perspective, to fill a different medium with a bit of Torah.
For this week, I began by tagging a few rabbinic colleagues to see what we could come up with for the parsha and really to see if this idea had any legs, and they did not disappoint. They posted a few great GIFs I would never have thought of and demonstrated all the different ways of looking at a single text.
I began with this post, a reference to God’s promise to Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky.
I also wanted to include something about the commandment of Brit Milah – circumcision:
Many of the other suggestions for Lech-Lecha focused on the idea of beginning a journey with an unknown destination.
Or even setting out with a certain degree of confidence:
While technically this isn’t a GIF, it still gets to the same idea:
We even got a reference to a lesser-known narrative in this parsha of Abram’s trip to Egypt:
As you can see there are a lot of different ways to go with this. Each person has their own connection point and their own way of thinking about it. There were a few posts I have to admit I didn’t fully understand – but that’s ok. It’s good in fact. Pushing me to learn and grow and think about the text in new ways.
Feel free to add to this project yourself. Each week take a look at the parsha and post a GIF your think represents a part of it. Tag it with #GIFTheTorah and I’ll collect some of the best entries over the week and feature them here.
I hope this project continues over the year and can’t wait to see all the GIFs you post. Together we can make the Torah more vivid, more colorful, and maybe even more fun.