These days there are many artists and art-lovers flocking to the exhibition center of Moscow’s municipality to view the paintings of Rabbi Ovadya Isakov, Chabad Shliach and Rabbi of Derbent, capital of Russia’s Dagestan region.
The name of Rabbi Ovadya Isakov may be familiar to you from two years ago when he merited a big miracle and his life was saved after a terrorist shot at him from close range in the wee hours of the morning near his home in Derbent. He was returning from shechting kosher meat for the Jewish communities in the mountains of Dagestan when the terrorist ambushed him.
Jews all over the world, and especially in Chabad communities, held their breath as they davened and recited Tehillim for his complete recovery as he was flown by private jet to Israel hovering between life and death for many weeks. Miraculously, and much to the doctors’ amazement, he has, Boruch Hashem, recovered completely.
Upon his recovery, he returned to Russia, and heeding the advice of Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, lives with his family in Moscow, while dividing his time between the large Jewish Kavkazi community of Moscow and the smaller Jewish communities spread throughout Dagestan.
Rabbi Isakov became a Baal Teshuva in Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim of Moscow when he started gaining fame as an artist, while getting to know his yiddishkeit better. It was then that he began painting scenes depicting Jewish life, traditions and scenic views of Eretz Yisroel.
Rabbi Isakov chose to use his energy and talents to delve into the world of Torah and completely immersed himself in learning. He went on to receive smicha for rabonus, as well as shechita, and today serves as Rabbi and Shochet for the thousands of Jews in Dagestan.
At the official opening ceremony in the Center of the Arts in Moscow, Rabbi Isakov presented his works before the audience that gathered there. One of his paintings depicts Jews in the field, which he explained using the Alter Rebbe’s mashal about the month of Elul in which the King is in the field. He used this opportunity to remind people to get ready for the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashana.
The exhibit will run for one month, and the word has spread that people are truly amazed by the talented Rabbi Isakov as well as by the Jewish feeling emanating from his paintings. A true Kiddush Hashem!
Photos by Levi Nazarov