Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Massoretic Movement

To our opinion this religious restoration of the Jewish world has not acquired yet the recognition of its true importance. Some 6000 Massoretic manuscripts in the Leningrad Library alone (the Firkovich Collection, collected by F. in the Crimea, north of the Black Sea) was not a matter of some sages alone. The acceptions alone by the Movement of the Magen David, now as a full Jewish Symbolic Sign beside a good number of early Neo-Christian symbolic Signs which were of ancient Jewish origin like the Shoshan (the Lily) the Disk (Maagal), the Ark of the Covenant and others is enough to reveal the importance of the Movement.

But there are other indications: f.i. the effort to create one repaired authorized Tenach, valid for everyone by the introduction of vocals and gramatical signs, and the points for accentuation, the correction of orthography, and the addition of explaining remarks below and beside each page.

But, what has to be recognized as the most important innovation of the Massoretic Movement is its Micrographic Writing of the Hebrew text of the Bible, comprising, at the same time, design of the symbolic Signs, especially of the Magen David. This synthesis between the ancient Hebrew text with newly acquainted symbolic signs is to give the ancient Jewish belief a new Foundation.

And so it comes, that the Magen David was accepted now by the Jews as a full recognized Jewish symbolic sign for all times. It continued through the century as a main Jewish symbol (beside the Menorah) till it was accepted in 1948, at the foundation of the state, as its emblematic sign in the center of the Jewish flag.

65. Micrographic Writing of the Hebrew text of the Tenach

Codex-Leningrad Carpet page from David Gunzburg, Vladimir Stasov, L'Ornement Hébreu, Berlin 1905



66. Micrographic Writing of the Hebrew text of the Tenach

Codex-Leningrad Carpet page from David Gunzburg, Vladimir Stasov, L'Ornement Hébreu, Berlin 1905

67. Codex-Leningrad Carpet page from

David Gunzburg, Vladimir Stasov, L'Ornement Hébreu, Berlin 1905


Also appears in: Loewinger, D. S. Hebrew, The Leningrad Codex, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1998 p. 959 (Torah, Nevi’im u-Khetuvim : Ketav yad Leningrad B19A, ketav ha-yad ha-shalem ha-ḳadum be-yoter shel ha-Miḳra)

The Leningrad Codex from around 1010 C.E.

The most important Massoretic illustration of David Star is contained in the Leningrad Codex from around 1010 C.E. From there begins the great career of the Sign in the Middle-Ages and the new time for eastern and western Judaism.

But we have to see from the start, that the Davidic Sign is not appearing in the Leningrad Codex as a single ornament, than, as surrounded and encased in the octagonal center of the Double-Square, the symbol of Gentile-Christianity.

The nearness of both Signs in the Leningrad Codex is difficult to explain maybe, the Massoretic Movement accepted both Signs under the same conditions, as "later" both Signs appear in Jewish context, David Star in numerous examples and the Double-Square only in single ones.

In accordance with the Massoretic tradition the design of both symbols is formed by the micrographic writing of citations of the Tenach, so that design and writing are wholly united. The intention is, without doubt, to give the Jewish belief a new foundation.

The translation of the Hebrew text belonging to the Magen David in the Leningrad Codex into English was done by
Stephen A. Reed. We are following him in this matter.

Almost all the citations are of Deuteronomy asking God to bless his people and the ground you have given them (Deut. 26:15).

Or, admonition of the people to obey God's commandments and statutes (Deut. 27:10).

Or, the admonition that you have to observe diligently the statutes and ordinances in the Land given by God. (Deut. 12:1).

Or, (literally:) "The Lord will open for you his reach storehouse, the Heavens, to give the rain of your Land in its season, and to bless all your undertakings. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. The Lord will make you the head, and not the tail, you shall be only at the top and not at the bottom - if you obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I am commanding you today, by diligently observing them" (Deut. 28:12, 13).
Or, (literally:) "All these blessings shall come upon you, if you obey the Lord your God" (Deut. 28:2).

All the 5 citations from the "Hebrew Book" of the New Testament are taken from Psalms:
"O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." [Psalms 63:1 (Hebrew Book v. 2)]
"So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name." [Psalms 63:4 (Hebrew Book v. 5)]
"Have you not rejected us O God? You do not go out, O God, with our armies." [Psalms 60:10 (Hebrew Book v. 12)]
"Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death." [Psalms 68:20 (Hebrew Book v. 21)]
"Summon your might O God; show your strength, O God..." [Psalms 68:28a (Hebrew Book v. 29a)]

Yet, we didn't finish yet with our explanations of the symbolic Signs of the page of the Leningrad Codex: all the outer and all the inner angles of the Double-Square are filled by Disks (maagalim), 16 altogether.

The Disk is one of the most frequent Jewish Symbols of antiquity, and it is in our opinion, the sign of God's unity.

The Signs are filled with an interior knot, which is to be found in most of its apperances, and which gives the Sign an interial strength.

The Disk filling the outer engles are accompanied by 2 (near triangles), which are enforcing in their rythm the circumference of the micrographic writing.

The Magen David, in contrast, in its black background and interior white ground forms the heart of the whole composition.


The large Star motive in the Leningrad Codex

One of the pages of Codex Leningrad is decorated by a large Star motive in micrographic design.

The composition of the big Star is done by 8 elongated triangles, which are connected by each other.

The center of the Star is taken by a Magen David sign surrounded by a large Double Square design (all, of course, in micrographic writing). This Double Square is, at the same time, the lower closing design of the large triangles above it.

It is of high interest that also here we find the main religious symbolic signs of the neo-Christian congregations: The Davidic Star of the Judeo-Christians, and the Double-Square of the Gentile- Christians, together. May be that the"'leniancy" of the Samaritans in religious problems we know already from Capernaum (p.) and from the Eso Narthex of Shavey Zion is the reason. It is difficult to find a satisfactory answer to the problem.

By the each other cuttings of the large triangles interiour angles are created, where-from 8 Arrows are arising. These serve, to my opinion, as "messengers" of the new religion to the whole world, and "Bracha" (blessings) bringing by its dispersion.

The Arrows are distinguished by the addition of honoring remarks at their heads of two words only. And these are the remarks: Siman tov (good sign), Siman Bracha (sign of blessing), Siman Yeshua (help sign), Siman Simcha (joy sign), Siman Cavod (sign of honor), Siman Hedva (sign of joy), Siman Zikaron (remembrance sign), and Siman Sasson (sign of happiness).

But not yet enough: each side of the interior Magen David is distinguished by the addition of two Disk signs (Maagalim) and a single disk is also added to the center of the Davidic Star. The 7 Disks of the lower triangle of the Davidic Star at the same time are covering also the upper triangle. Also the Disks are touching each other.

I see in the signs of the Disk on top of David's Star God's Unity and God's Presence in the whole world. The unity of the Maagalim with the Magen David is not to be found anywhere else, it is the synthesis of God's rule (David's Star ) with God's Unity in a supirior single Sign.

Carpet page of the Leningrad Codex with the Magen David as a single motive

This page of the Leningrad Codex of 1010 is filled with large Davidic Symbol, being inscribed in a square frame of dark line with a small niche protruding from its upper side.

Again, the micrographic writing is forming thhe design of the whole page. The six points of the Star are occupied by large circles, while from its six outer angles arrows are starting.

The Magen David itself is designed by the micrographic writing on a white background, together with the circles and the arrows. But the left and right interior sides of the square frame and its upper and lower ones appear as black ones. So, the white Davidic Star together with the ornaments appear as "floating" above the black ground.

While the circles are symbolizing God's unity the arrows, turning to every sides, are indicating God's presence, the Shechina, in the whole world.

The next Carpet Page, we are dealing with, makes use of the same ormaments: the Circle, the Arrow, the Davidic Star, but is arriving at a wholly other ornamentation.

Carpet Page of the Leningrad Codex as a large Star motive

The general form of this Carpet Page is a big star. 8 elongated triangles with 8 circles on top of them and 8 Arrows between them are composing it.

The triagles are crossing each other and from their crossing angles the Arrows are starting.

The center of the Star is taken by David Star, which is surrounded by the Double Square, which, itself, is identical with the lower crossing design of the triangles. All, of course, in micrographic writing.

The Arrows are distinguished by an evaluation of their actions by two words only attached to their tops.

But not yet enough: the Magen David of the center is occupied by 7 circles: one in its center and the other 6 ones on the triangles of the Star, two ones on each side, touching each other. The complete shape of David Star is covered by the circles in an even way.

The meaning of David Star in the Massoretic movement

David Star makes its appearance as a full fledged Jewish Symbol in the Leningrad Codex with the Massoretic movement of the 9th-11th century.

Yet, we explained the original symbolic meaning of David Star as a relation between God and God's Son- Yeshu.

But now, we are asking ourselves how it is possible that the Jews, who did not recognise Yeshu as the son of God, recieved the Star under this meaning. And our answer is that the Jews "replaced" Yeshu by the Jewish people itself as God's holy nation in its Brit with God from Har Sinai.

We have to concede that our explanation is a very daring one, but we don't see any other one. The Magen David is from now a full recognized Jewish symbol, but also the Double Square has become a Jewish one, as we saw.

68. Detail from Codex-Leningrad Carpet page from
David Gunzburg, Vladimir Stasov, L'OrnementHébreu, Berlin 1905

69. Detail from Codex-Leningrad Carpet page from

David Gunzburg, Vladimir Stasov, L'Ornement Hébreu, Berlin 1905

70. From: Loewinger, D. S. Hebrew, The Leningrad Codex, Grand Rapids, Michigan
1998 p. 965 (Torah, Nevi’im u-Khetuvim : Ketav yad Leningrad B19A,

ketav ha-yad ha-shalem ha-ḳadum be-yoter shel ha-Miḳra).

Courtesy of Dr. Yosi Peretz, Bar-Ilan University

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