Matter & Spirit – The Blog

24 בDecember 2014

Super Silver – Vayigash

I wonder if in Yosef Hatzaddik’s wildest dreams – either his own or those that he interpreted –  he ever foresaw that a major Israeli department store chain would one day bear his name. Yosef was called the mashbir—the sustainer, the one who preserved the Egyptian nation during seven terrible years of hunger and drought and controlled the country’s economy.  In modern day terms, he was Egypt’s Finance Minister and Chair of the Federal Reserve.


Last week’s parsha, Parshat Mikeitz, and the current parsha, Parshat Vayigash, contain many references to silver and money, as well as to Yosef’s position as the finance minister in Egypt.  Bereishit 47:14-19 likewise describes that he bequeathed his brothers with money and then sent gifts to his father, Yaakov Avinu, while eagerly awaiting his arrival in Egypt.  The episode of the silver goblet that Yosef instructed his servants to hide in Binyamin’s satchel (44:1-13) also commences at the end of Parshat Mikeitz and culminates in a stirring drama in Parshat Vayigash.

The parsha relates that all money in Egypt eventually dried out, and Yosef collected the final funds and brought them to Pharoah’s palace. “And the money ceased from the land of Egypt and the land of Cna’an.”  Just imagine. A whole country bankrupt!

Unity & reunion

Another underlying theme in this week’s parsha is that of opposite extremes:  On one hand, there’s the catastrophe of impossible hunger and drought, and on the other hand, there’s the incredible emotion and exhilaration that emerges from that calamity which, of course, is Yosef’s shocking revelation to his brothers.

Yosef’s private reunion with his brothers, as written, “Remove all people from upon me” (45:1), coupled with the silver goblet that occupies such a significant role in this story, inspires me to share something special, personal and extremely significant with you. Today, my husband Shlomo and I celebrate our 25th anniversary! Not just any anniversary, but our silver wedding anniversary!



So I hereby dedicate this week’s post to The Color Silver!



The color of money (kesef)

Longtime Israelis may still remember the film of the iconic painters who come to paint the doctor’s house and ask him in all seriousness, in thick Yiddish accents, “What color would you like the silver stripe? Can we make it olive green?” The good doctor insists that a silver stripe must be silver…

silver wallpaper: galery tapet


I’ll let you in on one of my deep, dark secrets: I don’t particularly care for the color silver, or actually any of the metallic hues, including bronze, nickel or stainless steel. I’m an earthy naturalist who goes for warm, natural shades of wood, stone and iron.

Notwithstanding, given that I work cooperatively with many clients whose tastes do reflect metallic colors, styles and materials, one of the most important lessons I garnered from my design and style mentor, Mrs. Miri Balbul was, “Doses, doses, and more doses. Everything in its proper measure and amount.” Recalling her motto, I allow myself to invite the metallic into my designs in just the right quantity. This principle, indeed, stands at the core of my work–to be flexible and open, to acquire new fresh ideas and sometimes create designs that completely clash with my personal taste since my greater goal is to ensure that my clients feel right at home in their homes!



So even if I’d personally prefer to paint a blue line in the room, if the good doctor wants it silver, then silver it is!

 Ralph Lauren


From Binyamin’s silver goblet to Zaidy’s silver menorah

Even when it comes to popular Judaica items, my taste clearly leans to the natural and raw. I love decorative stone menorahs and mezuzot; and bechers and washing cups fashioned of atypical substances are right up my alley. A breakfront overflowing with exorbitant silver articles just isn’t my thing…

Still, there are definitely articles that surpass style and fashion and fall under the category of what Tuvia from Fiddler on the Roof calls, “Tradition! Tradition!”  Silver Judaica items have a long and rich history that dates back centuries and even millennia. During World War Two, many fleeing Jews took the pains to bury their sacred silver articles under floorboards and trees or in walls and cellars. After the war, when the handful of emaciated survivors returned to their pillaged homes, some were lucky enough to find their treasures still untouched. With these few remaining possessions, they retrieved not only their physical wealth, but also the splendor and crowning glory of their homes. It was deep, inner beauty representing their link to their ancestors and also the legacy that they would transmit to future generations.



So even I can’t help but admit that with all the intriguing styles and extraordinary designs available on the market, there’s nothing like lighting the Chanuka candles in Zaidy’s silver menorah… It’s a poignant experience, a moment connecting us back to our pasts and to our futures…


 Sabba Duvtche’s menorah at our window


Marriage doesn’t come on a silver platter

After 25 years in the business (the marriage business!) I speak from experience when I say that one of the solid keys to success is the willingness to give in. To yield my tastes, my desires, my needs. To step outside of myself and truly give to and on behalf of my spouse. It’s hard, yes. But it makes a person great and a marriage great. Living with another person, learning to appreciate his unique taste, style, perspective and thoughts contributes tremendously to the marriage and the home.

console and chair: Kare design   bowl: IDdesign


Today, I thank Hashem for all the goodness that He has bestowed upon us. From the bottom of my heart, I pray that His loving-kindness will perpetuate forevermore.

silver tiles: remodelista


I also thank my dear husband Shlomo for 25 wonderful years of sharing, of standing faithfully beside me, for confronting myriad challenges along with me, for all you have taught me, and for all you continue to teach me. There is still so much more for me to learn, I know, so I look forward to our next 25 years together and the day when I’ll be writing a post in honor of our golden anniversary!

styling: Aviva Loberbaum   photo: Meitav Imas


Reflecting upon all I’ve just written, I realize that it’s good to step outside of my regular tastes and preferences once in a while…. So come to think of it, a silvery design doesn’t sound so bad…


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