Judaica Collection
Shiviti

Images of some of the shiviti found in Yale University's collection


Shiviti plaque : Hungary, 1942

Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. Dated 702 [1941 or 1942]. Folk-art style. Includes the typical Shiviti statements as well as other verses and sayings. On the top is an unusual statement: "Men why are you sinning and you do not remember the bitter day, because the angel of death with the sword in his hand, does not ask young or old." Painted in bright colors with many details, including the twelve symbols of the zodiac, two rampant lions holding up the Ten Commandments, two deer holding a Menorah, and two peacocks on the outside of a circle containing in micrography the entire text of the Song of Songs.



Shiviti plaque (Votive plaque hung on synagogue wall)

The focus of the plaque is the four-letter name of God written on the top in the center and the three seven branched candelabra in the center. The candelabra are made up of three psalms. A laurel surrounds the center one. Beneath them is the saying “prayer without devotion is like a body without a soul.” At the bottom of the document in large block letters is a prayer for God’s protection of the People of Israel. The border contain the passage from the Hebrew Bible relating to the candelabrum that Moses built in the desert and placed in the Tabernacle. According to the vendor, Bery Gross, the Shiviti is from Iraq and was created in the early 20th century. The document itself, however, does not mention either place or date.

Shiviti plaque : [Kurdistan?, 19th century?]

Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. The design is typical of illuminated manuscripts of the Kurdish Jews from Iraq and Iran. The plaque includes the traditional shiviti texts, Psalm 16:8, "I have set [Heb. shiṿiti] God always before me," and Psalm 67 written in the shape of a seven-branched candelabrum, with texts relating to the festival of Purim on either side. These texts include short poems relating to the festival, and the special bessings for the day and for reading the Megilah of Esther. The borders around the text consist of colored geometric and floral decorations, mainly in orange and gold.

Shiviti plaque : [Morocco?, 19th century?]

Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. Intricate micrography and designs. Inscription to the groom Yosef Biton. Biblical verses and blessings for the couple, as well as prayers against the evil eye.

Shiviti plaque : [Spain? North Africa?], [late 19th or early 20th cent].

Manuscript, ink and paint on paper. Ornately decorated shiviti plaque with extensive calligraphed biblical and kabbalistic verses, painted and gilded floral designs in borders, and other symbols. At the top is the shiviti statement , "I have set the Lord always before me" (Psalm 16:8). Psalm 67 is written in the center of the plaque in the shape of a seven-branched candelabrum. Next to the candelabrum are images of implements used in the Temple

Shiviti plaque : [Germany or Poland?, 18th century?]

Manuscript, ink on vellum. The traditional shiviti quotation is written at the top of the document. In the center is Psalm 67 written in the shape of a seven-branched candelabrum.



Shivviti Plaque, Morocco, late 19th or early 20th century.

Large paper plaque designed to be hung on the wall of a synagogue to exhort the congregation to more intense prayer with the traditional verse, Psalm 16:8, "I have set (shiviti) the Lord always before me." The plaque is lavishly decorated in gold and silver ink on a red background, with calligraphed verses and designs including menorahs, hamsas, implements used in the Temple and other symbols. In the center the words of Psalm 67 are written around three menorahs, each enclosed in a decorative arch. Below the menorah are three circles containing blessings. The name Reuven Amar appears below.


Nanette Stahl, Curator of the Yale University Library Judaica Collection;
Matt Russo, website developer.
All contents copyright © 2012, Yale University Library. All rights reserved.
Last modified: October 15, 2012.