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The Shiviti plaques are placed above the podium from which the prayer service is lead in a way that the hazzan (cantor) faces the plaque when facing east during prayer. These plaques received their name from the Biblical verse inscribed on them. Verse 8 of Psalm 16 says: Shiviti Adonay le-negdi tamid, “I have set the Lord always before me”. Shiviti plaques are usually elaborately decorated. Its decoration had to draw the attention of the cantor to Jewish values, and thus help him with concentration and immersion in prayer. Micrographic designs are typical elements on Shiviti plaques: the scribe writes holy texts with tiny characters in a way that they depict various abstract patterns, flowers, animals or human figures. The shiviti plaque of Leibrich Leeb made in Austerlitz, however, breaks with the tradition and the human figures appear, and the psalms rendered as decorative elements on the façade of the building. In the upper left medallion, High Priest Aaron is visible, while on the right one Moses with the stone tablets. Among them in a rectangular form one can discern scenes of King David playing on the harp, and Jacob’s dream.

Details

  • Title: Shiviti plaque
  • Creator: Leibrich Leeb
  • Date Created: 1787
  • Location: Austerlitz

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