Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Koresh, Hammurabi at the gates of Jerusalem?!

Just a few more beautiful things to show you from the Supreme Court Building.
The foyer of the courtroom area expresses all the architectural contrasts of the building--inside and outside, old and new, lines and circles.
The natural stone wall is a continuation of the wall that begins at the building's entrance.
Opposite it, in stark contrast, is a modern white wall with 14 tall niches containing windows and lovely curving benches for the public.

Natural light enters these niches through pyramid-shaped skylights, creating shadows on the white wall that change throughout the day.

As we mentioned a few days ago, courts in biblical times were situated at the gates of the city.
Deuteronomy 16:18 says "You will appoint judges and officers in all your gates . . . and they will judge people with a just judgment."
Here in the foyer there is a gate for each of the five Supreme Court courtrooms.
The three-tiered design of the entrances represents these gates and is also meant to remind us of the three-tiered design that was used for entrances to many public buildings in the ancient Near East. Our guide mentioned Mesopotamia, for example.
I am wondering if this could be a form of tribute to the Babylonian King Hammurabi.
Around 1790 B.C.E. he enacted the famous Code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon.
Our modern law systems in the world are still indebted to this ancient law code.
Or perhaps it is a hat-tip to Koresh, a.k.a. Cyrus the Great, king of Persia?
After all, following his conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C.E. he did free the Jews, captives of the Babylonian exile.
We were finally allowed to return and to rebuild the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.
And indeed, in the Supreme Court Building's Judicial Heritage Museum, I found a written tribute to Koresh.
Well, actually it is a thank you letter from Chaim Weizmann to British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour, dated November 19, 1917, thanking him for the Balfour Declaration .
But it says
"Since Koresh the Great, history has never know a declaration that inspired a greater understanding of political wisdom or far reaching diplomacy and justice toward the Jewish People than this declaration, may it be remembered for all time."


Kay said...

Oh wow! What a remarkable place, Dina. That muted light and shapes and forms created with it are truly beautiful and powerful.

moneythoughts said...

I can't make an objective comment this time, it is all too close to my being. Love the photos, and can only imagine the beautiful shadows and forms of light created by the movement of light through the day and the year. It is all so subtle and yet right in your face.

cieldequimper said...

Again, really interesting historical post plus, yes, OK, you can show me that wonderful building from every nook and cranny, it's gorgeous.

Reader Wil said...

A perfect marriage between modern and ancient times, Dina. This building is so beautiful and in good taste that I thank you for showing these photos. Very interesting post too!

JM said...

The first shot and the previous stairs are some quite amazing perspectives! Well done, Dina!

Dina said...

Hi Kay, glad you finally came up for air after working feverishly at your huge family history project. Your stories are just amazing. What a history!

Moneythoughts, so nice how you said that.

Ciel, OK then, more nooks tomorrow.

Wil, "marriage," that is so appropriate! Yes, the building instills respect for the law (at least for me).

JM, thanks, but I just point and whatever is there and shoot.

LisaF said...

The architecture is stunning. Thank you for sharing a place I may never see in my lifetime. Fascinating.

Green said...

Amazing place. I love the statement in the last photo "... May it be remembered for all time."

The second word from right in the Hebrew statement should be "Koresh". right? See how we write in Farsi, using Arabic letters:

It's kind of similar. Whenever I find time, I like to learn Hebrew.

Hilda said...

That is a beautiful corridor with amazing doorways and windows. Again, I love the symbolism of the doors.

I have thoroughly enjoyed your series about the Supreme Court building. It has such a well researched and thought out design, it is absolutely fascinating. Kudos to the architects and thank you, Dina.

Bill said...

A beautiful building!

Anonymous said...

This truly is a hall of impressive justice. Nice photography.

Pietro said...

What a charming architecture, and the light shades are so beautiful and interesting.

Petrea said...

I've really enjoyed your posts about this remarkable building.

jeannette stgermain said...

The design in the firs pic makes the space look "unending" -wow, so beautiful! Koresh - can't remember if it's written somewhere directly or indirectly (by deduction) that the one who bestows favor to G_d's people, will be blessed him/herself -what an honor!

VP said...

Other beautiful images of an impressive and greatly symbolic building.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

The architecture in this building is just--- heavenly. Calm, uncluttered, soothing, unable to see the end point at the beginning of the journey. Blind faith! Love it!!!


Dina said...

Lisa, shalom. I will try to have my pictures make you feel like you are really here.

"Green," yes, you are right. The second word from the right is Koresh. And now I look at the Koresh Street sign
and I see what you mean. The Arabic and the Hebrew letters are so similar!
Hope you get to study the language some day and that I get to continue the Arabic I once started.

Thanks Hilda. I'll show you the foyer windows tomorrow.

Hello Bill. Thank you. Glad you are here.

Abe, Pietro, Petrea, VP, I'm so glad you are enjoying this.

Jeannette, oh yeah, now I see, kind of infinite.
Offhand I can think of Psalms 122:6: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they prosper who love you!"
But you are right, there is more like that.
May it be so.

Jan, oh, so poetic! Well expressed!

JewWishes said...

What outstanding photos! I especially love the perspective of the first one, with its wonderful flow, light and contrasts.

What a beautiful building.