Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Mosaic menorah

The Mosaic menorah, according to the Talmud, stood 18 " tefahim " (1 tefah = 4 inches), or 72 inches, high, divided as follows: 3 tefahim for the tripod, including a "perah " (blossom in relief); 2 tefahim space; 1 tefah for a " gebia' " (cup or vase), " kaftor" (knob), and perah; 2 tefahim space; 1 tefah for a kaftor and branch on each side of the center shaft and a kaftor above the joint; 1 tefah space;

1 tefah for a kaftor and branch on each side and a kaftor above; 1 tefah space; 1 tefah for a kaftor and branch on each side and a kaftor above;

2 tefahim space; 3 tefahim for a cluster of three gebi'ot, a kaftor, and a perah on each of the branches and the center shaft (Men. 28b).

The gebia' is described as resembling an Alexandrian cup; the kaftor resembled the half of an apple; the perah resembled a blossom carved on pillars. Altogether there were 22 gebi'im, 11 kaftorim, and 9 perahim (ib.; see accompanying illustration). Maimonides further explains that the gebia' was broad at the top and narrow at the bottom (probably in the style of a flower-vase); the kaftor was somewhat egg-shaped with pointed tops; the perah looked like a dish with the. brim doubled outward (" Yad," Bet ha-Behirah, iii. 1-11). The spread of the branches was 9 tefahim (36 inches), and there was the same measure for the tripod (" Shilte haGibborim," ch. xxxi.).

The branches of the lamps had the apertures in which the wicks were placed turned toward the center lamp, which was known as "Ner ha-Ma'arabi " (= " the Western Lamp ") because it was next to the branches on the east side (Rashi on Shab. 22b). For, according to the Talmud, the menorah was so placed that its two branches Position, pointed toward the east and west respectively.

The Mosaic menorah

A similar rule applied to all vessels in theTemplc (Men. xi. 7), except the Ark. Maimonides, however, holds the opinion, also expressed in the Talmud, that the menorah, like the Ark, was placed at right angles to the length of the Temple, i.e., pointing north and south and facing east and west. But this theory appears to be untenable. It was opposed by Abraham ibn Daud (RaBaD) and was strongly attacked in "Shilte haGibborim" (xxxi. 26b).

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1924, in this case 1912, are now in the public domain.

IMAGE and TEXT CREDIT: The Jewish encyclopedia: a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day, Volume 8. Authors: Isidore Singer, Cyrus Adler Publisher: Funk and Wagnalls, 1912. Subjects: Jews

No comments:

Post a Comment