Sunday, July 22, 2007

Psalms 67 and the shape of David’s Shield

Star of David Israeli art Photo is courtesy of painter and lecturer on kabbalah issues Avraham Loewenthal who told me that there is a tradition in kabbalah to write psalms chapter 67 in the shape of a menorah and then it is called Shield of David.

These words fit things I’ve already wrote on this subject, for example: that Psalms 67 in the shape of David’s Shield is mentioned in the book of Yitzhak Arama Akedat Yitzhak. Gershom Scholem in his research about the Magen David brought another source from 16th century booklet which says that king David used to carry psalm 67 engraved on his Shield.

Traditionally Psalms 67 appears in the shape of the menorah in black & white whereas Abraham Loewenthal brings it here in colors and the arrangement of the branches is an allusion to the shape of star of David, which is made from the seven spheres of the lower part of the Tree of Life which represent the correction of the world, while six points are at the edges and one in their midst.

This work is part of Magen David exhibition in Tasha Gallery
Copyright: Avraham Loewenthal
Avraham Loewenthal wrote to me:
Tehillim Menorah
This picture is of Psalm 67 written by King David. The 150 Psalms of King David were written with Divine inspiration, and there is deep mystical significance in every letter. This Psalm is a prayer for the time when all nations and all peoples of the earth will come to serve G-D together in harmony. There is a tradition in the Kabbalah to write this particular Psalm in the form of a menorah. There are many mystical reasons for writing this Psalm in the form of the menorah. One idea I have learned is that this Psalm contains 49 words. 49 is discussed in the Kabbalah as associated with 49 stages in our spiritual development, until we reach the “50th Gate of Bina”, which is the experience of G-D’s infinite goodness in the state of unconditional love. When this Psalm is written in the form of the menorah, there are also 49 letters going down the central column. This Psalm can be seen written in the form of a menorah, displayed in many old synagogues in Israel. This Psalm is included in the daily order of prayers in the siddur (prayer book). In many sfaradi siddurim it is written in the form of the menorah. The menorah is associated with miracles, and perhaps a simple reason why this Psalm is written in the form of the menorah, is to reflect our prayer for the miracle of G-D bringing all the peoples of the world to harmony and holiness.

Psalms, psalm 67
1: God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
2: That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
3: Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
4: O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
5: Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
6: Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.
7: God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

No comments: