First Floor

Ardon Windows

Ardon Windows: Isaiah's vision of eternal peace by Mordecai Ardon*

Mordecai Ardon's stained glass windows are dedicated to Isaiah's vision of eternal peace:

And many people shall come and say: "Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

(Isaiah II:2-4)


The left panel depicts the roads taken by the nations on their way to Jerusalem. Each road is marked by the verse, "Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…" in several different languages and alphabets including Latin, Greek, and Arabic. 

The middle panel focuses on Jerusalem. At the bottom of the panel, the city wall is represented as the Dead Sea Scroll of the Book of Isaiah. Above the wall a piece of parchment carries part of the prophecy, "and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares". Next to the parchment one can see a network of blue circles and lines – the Kabbalistic Tree of Sefirot. To the left of the Tree is a composition of Sefirot made of concentric circles, also derived from the Book of the Zohar. 

The right panel is Isaiah's vision come true: guns and shells beaten into spades that hover above them.


* Mordecai Ardon (1896-1992) was an Israeli painter. In 1963 he was awarded the Israel Prize for painting. Ardon's unique style received world recognition and fame. The painter commenced work the "Ardon Windows" in 1980 and finished in 1984.


To the left of the Ardon Windows is the Gershom Scholem Collection, the next stop of the tour.

The Gershom Scholem Collection

The Gershom Scholem Collection (Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 09:00 – 18:00; Friday 09:00 – 12:45)

The Gershom Scholem Library, also known as the Gershom Scholem Collection, is a reading library specializing in the fields of Kabbalah, Hasidism and Jewish mysticism. It is the only collection of its kind in the world. The collection is based on the large personal library of Gershom Scholem, the renowned researcher of the Kabbalah. After Scholem's death, the collection was transferred to the National Library of Israel. The collection is housed in two dedicated reading rooms.

The collection includes some 35,000 items relating to the field of Kabbalah. The heart of the collection includes books (including numerous rare items), articles and facsimile manuscripts owned by Professor Gershom Scholem. Scholem edited many of the books, and added countless informative and critical comments in the margins and on the opening pages. These comments include many aspects that have not yet been published, adding a further dimension to the books and illuminating unknown aspects of the study of the Kabbalah. An additional part of the collection, which is growing steadily, consists of original literature and research works in the fields of Kabbalah and Hasidism. Existing and new publications are acquired by the Library through the Gershom Scholem Collection. 

After exiting the Gershom Scholem Collection, turn right. To the right of the elevator is the Bella and Harry Wexner Libraries of Sound and Song.


The Music Collection

The Music Collection and Sound Archive (Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 09:00 – 18:00; Friday 09:00 – 12:45)

The National Sound Archives, part of the Music Department, has the world's largest collection of ethnographic and commercial recordings of Israeli and Jewish music. The collection also includes non-Jewish music. The collection includes printed material (such as books and scores), video and audio recordings (including phonograph records, compact disks and cassettes), and archival material (drafts of oeuvres, research notes, correspondence, pictures, documents, announcements, programs, newspaper items, private recordings, etc.). The department documents, preserves and avails to the public all materials relating to the music of Eretz Israel, and to Israeli and Jewish music.

At the front desk you can receive headphones and listen to compilations on the Library's Music website. 

Once done listening, you can climb up one floor to visit additional collections.


To the entrance floor

To the entrance floor

To the second floor



To the second floor