Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shiviti Plaques in Budapest - Part 1

During a visit to Budapest last October, a dear friend and I paid a brief visit to the orthodox synagogue in Kazinczy Street, Budapest. Whilst admiring the ornate Art Nouveau/Art Deco crossover mix of styles in the architecture and interior decor of the building, we noticed two Shiviti plaques, which, as shown in the following photo, are respectively located strategically against the beautiful golden yellow marble wall on either side of the Aron Kodesh (Torah Ark). In front of each Shiviti is an alcove constructed from the same golden yellow marble employed on the walls:
You have probably forthwith spotted the following gilded Shiviti plaque carved in white marble, the plain yet impactive form of which is prominently displayed to the left of the "Torah Ark":
This Shiviti plaque is actually quite small compared to the one displayed to the right of the "Torah Ark," i.e. the one less conspicuously displayed. The latter Shiviti is however a very large, poster-sized construct, comprised of Biblical chapters and verses, Divine Names, mystical prayers, etc., all aesthetically arranged in keeping with the same artistic style to be witnessed in the very synagogue it is displayed in. In fact, the diminutive version shared in this missive neither portrays the enormous dimensions, nor the incredible artistic details of this truly wonderful "Magical Shiviti":
The frame of this Shiviti plaque was handmade from gypsom plaster (Plaster of Paris), moulded in close fit to the dimensions of the Shiviti. Curiously, the vertical edges of the frame spiral upwards and tapers like Sabbath candles, reminding one that, like the sacred lights of our faith, contemplation of this Shiviti will illuminate mind, soul, and spirit.
As said, the image shared here can in no way do justice to this incredible meditational/magical device, hence, I thought I would share an analysis of the Shiviti which would include enlarged and detailed portions of the image affording a greater insight into the magnificence of this remarkable sacred construct.
(More to follow)


Pluto said...

Thank you: this week I will go to see it!

Jacobus G. Swart said...

I would greatly appreciate it if you could get a couple of good photos of the central portion of this Shiviti plaque! Sadly, those I have taken during my visit to Budapest back in October 2012, are not very legible, especially the "doorway" portion around the menorah! If you can take a few pics, and are perhaps willing to share them, I can be contacted directly at