Matter & Spirit – The Blog

23 בOctober 2014

Window Wonders – Noach

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“And you shall fashion a window for the Ark and finish it above in a cubit,” (Bereishit 6).

In commanding Noach to build the Ark to protect himself from the imminent Flood, Hashem relays explicit instructions regarding its structure, dimensions and materials. Then, He also adds to build a tzohar, a window, for the Ark. Rashi defines the word tzohar as a window for light (skylight), with the root of the word deriving from tzaharayim—high noon—or a precious gem that illuminated the interior of the Ark.

 

Light for the Eyes & Soul

Aside from serving as a source of light bright enough to illuminate a structure containing so many people, animals, food and equipment; the tzohar also provides deep metaphorical significance.

 

Words that Illuminate

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The Baal Shem Tov, hailed founder of the Chassidic movement, teaches that the word teivah has a dual meaning in Hebrew. The first is ‘ark’, and the second is ‘word’. The commandment to Noach to fashion a tzohar for the teivah, he shares, transmits a profound lesson in that every Jew must build a window for his own teivah. A Jew is obligated to infuse light and radiance into his words and speech—whether speaking to a friend, learning Torah or praying. Every word that leaves one’s mouth must be imbued with meaning, goodwill and truth, for only words containing this deep spiritual energy will penetrate the heart of the listener.

 

Losing Out on Windows of Opportunity

I once went to check out an apartment in a terraced development that overlooked a gorgeous desert vista. To my chagrin, the kitchen, which had a direct view of the scenery, featured only a small, narrow window.

“Why?” I asked the contractor. “What a waste!”

“Oh, what’s the difference?” replied the contractor dismissively. “People enjoy the view for a day or two, but then get used to it.”

I disagree.

Windows are an elemental feature of any house. Their placement, position, size and even the width of their frames can make a tremendous difference. It’s always best to select narrow frames to avoid wasting the scenery.

The trend today is to build sunny, airy houses, to create a unity and link between the indoors and outdoors. Whether you’ve got large, wide windows or full glass walls that overlook an urban scene of tall buildings and skyscrapers and engender that formidable feeling of standing on top of the world, or you live in a ground-level home surrounded by natural, rural scenery or even an aesthetic flower garden—the goal is to meld the residence with the environment, to invite the outdoor scenery into our homes in order to foster an open, natural feeling.

It’s no longer necessary to press your nose against the window to peer outdoors. Now, the outdoors is the direct continuation to your house, and your house is a continuation of the great outdoors. With this premise in design, you don’t need to plan a trip into the woods to absorb the feel and energy of nature or to disconnect from the pulse of city life as soon as you step into your home. Your home is the outside that you love.

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window to the view by Studio Ko

 

Old Windows, New Ideas

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Believe it or not, old wooden frame windows are being dismantled from buildings on the brink of demolition to become valuable collectors’ items! Today, wooden frame windows have become a gorgeous accent to any home, especially when we refurbish them and alter their original purpose to suit our modern needs. They can serve as closet doors, table tops or mirror frames. They can also be transformed into charming picture frames that foster the feeling that the pictures open a window into a piece of your life. When attached to the wall, each pane in the frame tells a story of its own—or actually, a double story—the story of the picture, and the story of the frame…

 

Meet Yoram, Hunter of Dreams…

I met Yoram Amir several years ago, and I immediately fell in love with his stunning, innovative handcrafts. We became good friends, and I’m always seeking opportunities to purchase one of his creations for myself or one of my clients. Yoram, a photography artist, is a born-and-bred Jerusalemite who possesses profound love for the City of Gold… the City of Old.

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Yoram is as unconventional as they come; he’s a lover of all that’s old and antique in Jerusalem, and is greatly disturbed by the constant refurbishing, replanning and preservation (or lack thereof!) of his beloved city. Yoram is also a photography artist who specializes in scrounging old windows, blinds, and doors from buildings on the brink of demolition. He collects them, one by one, and adds them to his fascinating gallery which he’s named Shodedei Y-M (Pirates of Jerusalem). There, he lovingly treats each and every item, restoring it to its original beauty, imbuing each one with new, special charm. He inserts mirrors into some,

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and original photographs into others. Some he leaves empty, waiting for a customer to fall in love with the piece and fill it with his own dream…

 

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 Window from the Jerusalem Palace Hotel (now the Waldorf Astoria). This photo was taken by Yoram from the construction site of Mamilla Boulevard facing the Tower of David.

 

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A window frame discovered in the Nachlaot neighborhood in Jerusalem framing one of Yoram Amir’s masterpieces. After photographing a wedding, Yoram escorted the bride and groom to the Western Wall where he captured the newlyweds praying on opposite sides of the separation barrier.

 

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An old window frame from the Palace Hotel, Jerusalem (currently the Waldorf Astoria) filled with pictures of my children. The frame hangsMy dreams framed by Yoram’s windows in my foyer, where it welcomes my guests into my home and life.

My dreams framed by Yoram’s windows…

  Searching for more ideas and inspirations in how to use old windows? Check out my Old Window Board on My Pinterest!

 

 

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