Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shiviti Plaques in Budapest - Part 2

As indicated in the following detail, this Shiviti from the Kazinczy Street Synagogue in Budapest is crowned with Psalm 119 which arches above the construct like a rainbow:
As you have probably noticed, the full version of the plaque does not reflect the range of colours portrayed in the detail. In this regard, consider for example the font of the "traditional header" often employed in Shiviti amulets and meditational plaques, reading:
da lifnei mi atah omed lifnei melech mal’chei ham’lachim ha-kadosh baruch hu.
"Know before whom you stand, before the King of kings of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He."
The detail below shows the calligraphy of this header to be very ornate and colourful:
The same applies to the decorations top centre, which are comprised of a crown, drapings, etc., all presented in magnificent detail, as shown below:
Directly below these decorative "fillers," we note the segment which is vital to every Shiviti, i.e. the portion indicating the very title of such meditational constructs, this being also the primary focus of the image. Derived from Psalm 116:8, it reads:
Shiviti YHVH l’negdi tamid
"I have set YHVH always before me"
In the current instance the term "Shiviti" is located centrally, directly below the upper decorations. In turn, the Ineffable Name, the second word in the statement, appears written in large and simple ashurit script directly below the opening term. The concluding two words of this seminal phrase, i.e. l'negdi tamid presented in bold red letters, are written as footers to the two panels respectively located to the immediate right and left of the central panel framing the Ineffable Name.
(More to follow)

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