Saturday, February 20, 2010

A birdbath in the Supreme Court??

The Justices' chambers and the administrative wing of the Supreme Court surround the Courtyard of the Arches.
The design reminds us of Jerusalem's Rockefeller Museum, built during the British Mandate period.
The water at its center might remind Jewish visitors of the religious importance of immersion in the mikva for one's "ritual purification."

This little bird was using the water conduit as a birdbath!
Thankfully, she gave me a picture for Camera-Critters Sunday.
Do you think she was aware of the symbolism of her esteemed surroundings?

The water was bubbling up like a spring.
The Supreme Court leaflet says,
"The Courtyard, made of stone, suggests the arid conditions of the desert which border Jerusalem. . . . The stone quarried from the earth and the water reflecting the sky represent the biblical symbols of truth and justice."
The courtyard is inspired by Psalms 85:12:
אֱמֶת, מֵאֶרֶץ תִּצְמָח; וְצֶדֶק, מִשָּׁמַיִם נִשְׁקָף. "Truth will spring up from the earth and justice will be reflected from the heavens."
Is the 23rd Psalm your favorite? The one that begins "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name's sake."
Well, sorry to say, the English translation is wrong. Ma'agelai tsedek in Hebrew is "circles of justice" and not "straight paths."
You need to know this in order to understand the symbolism in the Courtyard of the Arches in Israel's Supreme Court Building!
Guide Orly Peled explains it:
"The pure spring water, to which justice is likened, flows through the conduit following a straight, consistent, and clear course. Within this straight line, however, the water travels in circular riplets [the circles of justice] . . . , reflecting the fact that justice is often subjective and may be broadly interpreted.
The entire construction consists of a combination of straight lines (the law) and rounded ones (justice)."


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That's fascinating about the 23rd psalm.

LeAnn * ~ See Great Things said...

As always, I love your post! Thanks for the cute little bird and all the info you provided. I looked up that word and saw the circular reference, how cool! Now, I seem to remember a place near the temple that was a large body of water with steps that went down, would that be the like, or in fact the same thing, that your are talking about here? Thanks for taking the time to share all of this with us. I love the linear waterway with the circular end. Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

I had never seen anything like this before I came here today. Nice.

Robin said...

I love your photos of this - great composition, especially the first and third.

I REALLY need to go see the Supreme Court one of these days. I've sent so many tourists there but have never visited myself.

LeAnn * ~ See Great Things said...

Thanks for your reply. I bet what I wrote sounded confusing as there are no steps in your pictures. I followed your link of the mikva and it had steps. Thanks for your post, it was full of interesting things!

Dina said...

Hi Yogi. I thought so too.

LeAnn, I guess I was just referring to water in the general sense of being a source of ritual purity. It was something our guide mentioned.
A mikva is usually inside a building. You go down the steps and immerse in the little pool of water. That is AFTER you have washed with soap in the shower.

Abe, it was my first time inside the Supreme Court last week and it is taking me a week to share all the cool things I saw and learned.

Robin, yes, go! Hebrew tour is at 11, English at noon, Sunday through Thursday. Free!

Teena in Toronto said...

Awesome place for a bath!

I played too :)

Hilda said...

There's so much symbolism in the architecture of this building, it's absolutely amazing and fascinating. I didn't know that about the circles of justice. So why isn't our English bible being corrected? Aside from the subjectivity and broadness of the interpretation of justice, one could also say that its effects ripple out to affect more than the original subject.

Thank you for another interesting and educational post, Dina.

Cloudia said...

Birds are angels...

ShAloha, Dina

Comfort Spiral

Ladynred said...

Interesting place to find a bird and birdbath. It's also interesting info.

Petrea said...

It's beautiful and impressive, and I love your post about it. (Plus the birdie.)

Pietro said...

That's so nice, Dina.
Maybe the little bird was aware of the symbolism the surroundings, who knows! Wonderful shots!

cieldequimper said...

Dina, I love the third photo. The perspective is fantastic, I really, really like this building. And the bird, unaware... :-)

RuneE said...

Nice design for a birdbath. I'm afraid it would have frozen over here - and covered with snow. We are promised large amounts...

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» is following this series with great interest, and is particularly interested in the translation of the 23rd Psalm.

Virginia said...

What beautiful photographs today and the text was very meaningful for me as well. BTW, TUesday a dear friend is giving me a tour of their synagogue along with the rabbi, so that I may take photographs for my blog. I 'm looking forward to learning more about this very special place.

VP said...

A strange court, you made it less solemn for a moment with that tiny bird. Thanks for the explanation about Psalm 23, the only one I know by heart.

Leif Hagen said...

A very interesting "birdbath" indeed! I wonder if anyone has ever tripped on it?

Dr M said...

A lovely post! Great pictures! The professor in me requires I be the fly in the ointment and take exception with the translation of "ve-ma’gelei-tzedek", "and paths of righteousness." The old translation as "straight" is, indeed, quite incorrect, as no one who has ever seen the pathways across the hills (especially noticable in the Wilderness on the road the Jericho) made by generations of sheep would call them "straight"!
The image is of one remaining "in the rut of righteousness", a safe place to keep from slipping on the steep hillside of life.