Matter & Spirit – The Blog

27 בJanuary 2015

Changing the Rules – Beshalach

waters “flood” this week’s parsha, Parshat Beshalach, as they are mentioned numerous times in varying contexts. Water is a multifaceted creation, sometimes to the point of being paradoxical.  It can be soothing or raging, life-giving or destructive, boiling or freezing, and can rain down from the heavens or emerge from the lowest points of the earth…



Out of character

Perhaps the greatest spectacle in all of history—an event in which water played the pivotal role—was the Splitting of the Red Sea… “And the waters split… And Bnei Yisrael passed through the sea on dry land…And the waters…on their right and left” (Shmot 14:21-22). It was an unrivaled miracle in history, a time when a physical creation—water—completely deviated from the laws of nature to perform the will of G-d.

Rashi in his commentary cites a fascinating Midrash: “’Vayashav hayam l’eitano’—And the sea returned to its strength. Do not read it as eitano—its strength, but rather as tna’o—tennai (a caveat). The Holy One Blessed is He stipulated a caveat when He created the sea during the Six Days of Creation, that it would once deviate from its natural properties to allow Bnei Yisrael to walk on dry land.”

Who takes bread from the…

Several episodes in this parsha regard water and occasions when water deviated from the laws of nature. One episode is that of the bitter waters of Meriva which were miraculously sweetened when a wooden branch of a tree with a bitter taste was cast into the water. It was in Meriva that the law of ‘Like remedies like’ was established.


Even the food that Bnei Yisrael ate in the Wilderness was delivered to them by Hashem via a method usually reserved for water. “Behold, I am raining upon you bread from the heaven” (Shmot 16:4)—undeniably, an unusual variety of rain! Last but not least was when Bnei Yisrael complained of dire thirst, which was followed by Moshe Rabbeinu striking the rock and releasing water…

In today’s post, it’s not the water but the water pipes that are acting out of character! Eschewing the purpose for which they were manufactured, these pipes are utilized for a wide variety of purposes including conducting electricity, supporting shelves, serving as table legs and an eclectic assortment of interesting, surprising and creative design options.


 Coat hanger   flowerpot   Curtain rod   Wall lamp   banister   desk lamp   Chanukah Menorah

Pipes with purpose

For some time now, I’ve been following the recycling design trend with interest and amazement, specifically the resourceful integration of plumbing pipes into home styling. Two months ago, I registered for a course offered by Miri Balbul, a top-notch designer and instructor, who taught me how to recycle parts of plumbing hardware and random cool items into attractive designs.  The style is definitely industrial and isn’t quite everyone’s taste, but one who goes for it doesn’t just like it. He loves it!

I’m reminded of my first visit to the Centre Pompidou in Paris—an architectural masterpiece that’s a frequent topic for argument between those who see it as out-of-the-box architectural modern genius and those who see it as the world’s greatest monstrosity, an ugly splotch on Paris’s otherwise classic, romantic skyline. For those of you who haven’t seen it (yet!), the Centre Pompidou was constructed with all its infrastructure and pipes exposed. Ventilation, water, electricity, gas and even sewage pipes, along with staircases, hang from external walls instead of being secreted within the walls as in most other buildings in the world. Despite my love of the quaint, picturesque Parisian streets, there’s something about the contrasting color and creativity of the striking Centre Pompidou that rivets me!


Pompidou center


So what kind of designs can we fashion out of plumbing pipes?  Check out these photos below! They speak for themselves!


bed   table



Tap beer   library



Clothes hanger   Table



Stella Bleu

If you like what you see, you’re invited to check out the Pinterest bulletin board featuring Designs with Plumbing Pipes or to order your choice of shelves, lamps and whatnot. Your imagination is the limit!



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