Under Reconstruction!
Object Alone
© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Soudack, Ruth, 29.8.1990
A rectangular "Shiviti plaque" written in square Ashkenazic script. It depicts, at its center, a semi circled seven^branched^menorah~, composed of Ps. 67 and geometric and floral patterns. The menorah~ is surmounted by the first verse of the psalm, three letters over each branch. The base of the menorah~ contains two medallions bearing the inscription: "פ'א'י' % ח'ת'ך' )פותח את ידך, תהלים קמה:61, ראשי תיבות וסופי תיבות(" "Thou openest thine hand. . ." (Ps. 145:16, initials and last letters) The menorah~ is flanked on its right side by the letters: "צומ קול)מסמלים תשובה ותפילה -- תפילת יום הכפורים, נוסח האריז"ל( "Fast, Voice" (symbolizing repentance and prayer -- Yom Kippur liturgy of the Arizal)##and on its left side by the words: "הכם אדני)שמות של ה'(" "Hakem, Adonai" (names of God)##The shaft of the menorah~ is flanked by the verses of the formula: "אנא בכח. . ." "Ana B'koah," whose initials form the 42-letter name of G-d.##The base of the menorah~ is flanked on the right side by the letters: "בוקוכמובסזכיזן)??(" ????##and on its left side with the letters: "סמוט )סור מרע ועשה טוב. ..תהלים לד:51( דמשק)דע מי שהוא קונך(" "Depart from evil, and do good. . .(Ps. 34:14 initials); Know who is your creator(initials)" The edges of the base of the menorah~ are flanked on either side by a square checkered with many colors. The colophon appears beneath the base of the menorah~.##The menorah~ appears within an arch whose columns are wound with spiral ribbons. The upper part of the arch is composed of the inscription: "פתחו לי שערי צדק אבא בם אודה יה זה השער ליי' צדיקים יבאו בו )תהלים קיח:91,02(" "Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord: This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter. (Ps. 118:19,20)" The lintel of the arch contains the inscription: "אל מול פני המנורה יאירו שבע' הנרות )במדבר ח:2(" "...the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick. (Num. 8:2)" In the center of the arch's tympanum there is a medallion which contains the inscriptions: "יקהרועה % ישהטונה" ????##and: "...יהוה )אדני, אלהים בתוך האותיות( ##לנגדי תמיד)תהלים טז:8(" "...the Lord(God within the letters)##always before me...(Ps.16:8)" The upper part of the medallion is flanked on the right side by the verse, in the shape of a curve: "תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה ק'י)קהלת יעקב()דברים לג:4(" "Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. (Deut. 33:4)"##and on its left side by the verse: "אש תמיד תוקד ע'ה)על-המזבח( לא תכבה )ויקרא ו:6(" "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out. (Lev. 6:13)" The lower part of the medallion is flanked, on the right side, by the verse, inscribed in a horizontal line: "סעפים שנאתי ותורתך א)אהבתי( )תהלים קיט:311(" "I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love (Ps.119:113)"##and on the left side by the verse: "אור זרוע לצדיק וליש'ל)ולישרי לב שמחה( )תהלים צז:11(" "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart(int.) (Ps.97:11)" The arch is surrounded by the following inscriptions: on the lower right side, reading from top to bottom: "לישועתך קויתי יי' )בראשית מט:81(" "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord (Gen.49:18)"##on the upper right side, reading from bottom to top: "לב טהור ברא לי אלהי' ורוח נכון ח'ב )חדש בקרבי( )תהלים נא:21(" "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (Ps . 51:10)".##On the upper left side, reading from top to bottom: "שמע ישראל יי' אלהינו יי' אחד )דברים ו:4(" "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord (Gen.6:4)"##and on the lower left side, reading from bottom to top: "לפורקנך סברית יי'" "I trust in your redemption, O Lord(?)"##Over the apex of the arch is a medallion containing the word: "שויתי... )תהלים טז:8(" "I have set..." (this connects with the inscription in the medallion inside the arch to complete verse Ps.16:8). The arch is surmounted by a crown~ flanked by rampant lions~ facing backwards. The crown is composed of three bands of text alternating with three bands of geometric patterns. The top band of text in the crown reads: "דע לפני מי אתה עומד לפני מלך מ"ה )מלכי המלכים( ה'ק'ב'ה )הקדוש ברוך הוא( )שילוב אבות ג:1, ד:כב, ברכות כח ע"ב(" "Know before whom you are standing: before the supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He(int.) (compilation of Mishnah, Avot 3:1, 4:22, B .T. Ber.28b)"##The middle band reads: "ודע מה למעלה ממך עין רואה ואוזן שומ')שומע( )אבות ב:1(" "And know what is above thee, a seeing eye and a hearing ear (Mishnah Avo t 2:1)"##The bottom band reads: "ודע מי שהוא קונך )???(" "And know who is your creator (???)"##In the top corners of the crown are the inscriptions: "כתר כהונה % כתר מלכות" "Crown of the Priesthood % Crown of Kingship" Two frames bearing inscriptions surround the sides and bottom of the main section. The inner inscription reads counter clockwise from the top left corner, and reads: "אוי לך בן אדם מה תתגאה ברוב הונך. הן לא יועיל לך ברוב יומך. כי ביום המות מכהה עינך. ובכל יום דואג על איבוד דמיו. ואין דואג על איבוד ימיו. דמיו אין עוזרין וימיו אין חוזרין )ספר החיים י:1( למה לא תזכור את יום המר. כשה'מהמ'ו)מלאך המות( בא וחרבו ש'ב )שלופה בידו( כתער. ואין שואל אם זקן אם נער" (Loose translation)"Woe to you son of man, why be proud of all your riches, it will not be useful to you in most of your days, for on the day of death your eye darkens. And every day he worries over the loss of his wealth, and does not worry over the loss of his days. His wealth will not come to his aid and the days of his life will not return(Sefer Hahayim 10:1). Why not remember the bitter day, when the Angel of Death(int.) comes and his sword is drawn in his hand (int.) like a razor, and doesn't ask whether old or young." The outer inscription reads counter clockwise from the top left corner and reads: "מה יעצור כח ילוד אשה. נוצר מטפה באושה. שבחך בפה לפרשה. להטיף צקון ולחישה. מחיתו עליו קשה וחטאתו) ?( על לבוחרושה. וגוע ומת בחלושה. צרה וצלמות יירש. מביתו ומהונו יופרש. לבית הקברות תושלח ותוקבר. ורימה ותולעה יירש" (Loose translation) "What will stop the strength of one born of woman. Created from a stinking drop. Your praises in his mouth to explain. To preach cries and whispers. His livelihood is difficult for him. And his sin is ploughed in his heart(?). And expires and dies in weakness. He will inherit sorrow and the shadow of death. He will be separated from his home and his riches. He will be sent to the cemetery and buried. And will inherit worthlessness (worms)."
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