Waves Sharon Festival stamps 5759 (1998)Festival stamps 5759 (1998)Festival stamps 5759 (1998)

  • Issue: September 1998
  • Designer: Y. Granot
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 350 - 352
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The curtain of the Holy Ark in the synagogue is a reminder of the curtain in the Tent of the Congregation in the first Holy Temple. The curtain separated the inner area of the Tent of the Congregation from the outer section, the Holy Temple (Kodesh), where the table, lamp and altar and incense were located and the inner part, the Holy of Holies (The Kodesh Hakodeshim), where the Holy Ark with the Ten Commandments (Numbers 26:31 -33; Chronicles 2, 3,14) was located.

In ancient synagogues, the Torah scrolls were housed in a portable wooden box, and during the reading to the public from the Torah, the curtain was open in front of the Holy Ark The Torah scroll was rolled to the correct Torah portion behind the curtain. From the 3rd century BCE, the Torah scrolls were placed in a niche in the synagogue wall, covered by a curtain. Documentation uncovered from the Middle Ages mentions the "pair of curtains on the hall gate" of the Jerusalem synagogue in Postate in Cairo. Some had the custom of hanging the curtain inside the Holy Ark, behind the doors.

Valuable cloth, woven especially for this purpose, was used to make the curtain. Clothing and other articles of attire, such as bridal gowns and fine material were also used. Verses from the Bible were embroidered on the curtain, along with flowers, the seven branched menorah, the eternal candle, the Star of David, the Ten Commandments, a set of columns representing the columns of Yachin and Boaz in the Holy Temple and animal figures. The influence of Islam resulted in rugs, embroidered with a gate, being used as curtains.

The curtain was usually embroidered with the name of the person to whom it was dedicated, or the particular event and date for which it was prepared. In modern times, the curtain often commemorates the names of those who perished in the Holocaust or soldiers who have given their lives in Israel's wars, as it is written, "and even unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial" (Isaiah 56:5).

The decorations aroused controversial debate regarding the restrictions of Jewish law. Some forbade decorating the curtain for fear of idolatry "for it appeared that he bowed to them". Rabbi Yoseph Kato, author of the Shulhan Aruch (the Code of Jewish Law), deemed the decorations permissible. On the ninth of Av, the curtain is removed as a symbol of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple. During the High Holidays, a white curtain is used, symbolizing purity, as it is written: "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).

NIS 1.15 stamp
The center of the curtain shown on the stamp is embroidered with the words "A land of brooks of water, of fountains, and springs flowing forth in valleys and hills: A land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees, and pomegranates: a land of olive trees, and honey (Deuteronomy 8:78). The curtain is located at he "Hechal Yitzchak" synagogue in Moshav Yonatan, the Golan Heights.

NIS 1.80 stamp
The center of the curtain shown here is embroidered with the words: "It s on three things that the world stands, truth, justice and peace. as it is said "render in your gates judgements that are true and make for peace." (Sayings of the Fathers, 1:18). The curtain is located at the "Ohel Chanah' synagogue Neve Tzuf, Halamish.

NIS 2.20 stamp
Here the center of the curtain is embroidered with the words: "0 Judah. keep thy Solemn feasts" - Nahum 1:15 - The Curtain is located at - "Hatzvi Israel" synagogue Jerusalem.

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Festival stamps 5759 (1998)