Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dick Ben Dor, Frames

Dick Ben Dor, Frames magen David Israeli artPhoto is courtesy of Israeli painter Dick Ben Dor who was asked a few years ago to prepare drawings on Stars of David for an exhibition about Judaism Christianity and Islam which was supposed to take place abroad. After he prepared the frames for the pictures and the drawings he was notified that the exhibition was cancelled. In the meantime he discovered the artistic qualities of the frames themselves and introduced some of them as finished works. Here we see a work made only of frames in the size of meter and forty centimeters.
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All rights on the above photo are reserved to Dick Ben Dor.

Why David?

The Shield of David is about protection. Charms and amulets are about protection. The Shield of David appears on Charms and amulets. Why David?
Erwin R. Goodenough in his monumental book, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period, Volume two, Pantheon Books, 1953, New York, chapter six, p. 170 talks about Jewish charms and amulets, from Christian sources, where King David (also named Davithea) appears. Goodenough answers our question very elegantly:
Since David by his singing drove the evil spirit out of Saul (I Sam, xvi, 23) his appearance in such a role seems inevitable”.

A good example Goodenough brings for such an appearance of King David on a charm is from page 166:
I adjure thee today, Davithea
Thou who liest there upon the bed of the Tee of Life,
In whose right hand is the golden bell,
In whose left hand is the lyre of the spirit
When he gathers all the angles for the salutation of the Father.
I adjure thee today, Davithea, Eleleth,
In the name of the seven holy archangels,
Michael, Gabriel, Suriel, Raphael, Asuel, Sarapuel, Abael-
That is those who stand at the right hand of the Father…

Gershom Scholem, the authoritative researcher of the Star of David, wrote in the Encyclopedia Judaica:
In magical Hebrew manuscripts of the later Middle Ages, the hexagram was used for certain amulets…
but Goodenough shows that David is mentioned as a protector (without his shield) much earlier than “later Middle Ages”.

IMHO we can learn from Goodenough a very important lesson about the history and the meaning of the six pointed star: In the Greco-Roman Period the figure of King David was used as a protecting figure and only many hundred years later, in the Middle Ages, David the protector from the charms and amulets got his shield.

Star Of David Blue And White that Preceded the Israeli Flag

It is a well-known fact that the existence of the Magen David on the yellow patch in the period of the Holocaust was among the central reasons for its acceptance to the center of the Israeli flag. What is not so known, and to me at least was really shocking, is that the yellow patch was not uniform in all the places under the Third Reich regime and at least at the start there were a few blue Stars of David on a white arm band. It was somewhat like precursor of the Israeli flag. I wonder how such an important piece of information escaped the books that describe the development of the Israeli flag. IMHO we should make sure that future generations would know about it.
I found about this special badge on yadvashem site, where it says in Hebrew that on the first of December 1939 Hans Frank, Nazi governor in Poland, ordered the Jews to carry on their right sleeve and on their upper garment a white band and on it a blue Star of David. ten centimeters wide…In Lublin and in Zaglembie. From the 10th of July 1941 Jews in Bialistok had to wear on their right arm a white band and on it a blue Star of David