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File:A shiviti, Denmark.jpg

Shiviti (or Shivisi, in the Ashkenazic pronunciation) 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.

This tradition is based on the Biblical verse: I have set (shiviti) the Lord always before me. (Psalm 16:8). Some medieval Kabbalists developed special meditational techniques and imagery, which helps to concentrate the mind on the Divine names, in order to elevate one's mind and to connect to the spiritual worlds, not unlike the Eastern Mandala tradition. In the 18-19th centuries this tradition turned into a whole branch of Judaic art [1].

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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