The Art of Shiviti


Shiviti are meditative plaques used in some Jewish communities for contemplation over God’s name. They are usually placed over the Amud – the podium from which the prayer service is led by the Hazzan. A decorated Parochet or Mizrach tapestry, or a special illustrated page in the Siddur with similar imagery may also serve the same function.

A typical Shiviti depicts a large calligraphic Tetragrammaton, surrounded by other mystical Divine names, often written in a certain order in the shape of a Menorah, made entirely of Hebrew letters. It might also contain an image of a hand, which represents the Priestly Blessing, a Star of David, the altar of the Holy Temple, lions, birds, deer and other images that serve as symbols of the spiritual realms and the Sephirot.Today, a number of Jewish artists produce various modern forms of Shiviti, sometimes merging the old Kabbalistic traditions with New Age and Far Eastern motifs.


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