Waves Sharon Hanukka

  • Issue: November 1994
  • Designer: I. Gabay
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 235
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The Hanukka lamp featured here was made in Morocco from available materials: printed tin from sardine cans, pieces of cloth and slivers of glass. On the back of the Hanukka lamp, the words "Sardines in Olive Oil' can be made out. Besides its artistic aspect, the lamp reflects the phenomenon of using every day objects and converting them into ritual artifacts, reflecting a specific social and economic situation and often disclosing a fascinating human story. Objects made for embellishing the Torah Scroll in the synagogue were generally made of materials intended to enhance the observance of the ritual - silver, gold and splendid brocades -and in this way the material used was sanctified together with the Torah Scroll and its appurtenances. Often, however, objects whose original purpose was quite different were used, including secular, ceremonial artifacts. These include garments, that were converted into curtains for the Holy Ark (parokhot); brass plaques from soldiers' helmets that were made into back walls of Hanukka lamps; infants linens which were resewn to form binders for the Torah Scrolls, and champagne goblets which were reassembled to make Torah finials ( rimonim).

A second group consists of ceremonial A objects which, having worn out with time, bE were adapted for other sacred or lesser ceremonial use, the purpose being the recycling of precious materials, the original function of the artifacts being often completely overlooked. So, for example, a Torah breasplate was converted to the back wall of a Hanukka lamp, and leaves from sacred books, and parchments from marriage contracts (ketubot) and from scrolls of the Book of Esther were incorporated in the bindings of prayer - books.

The concept of reutilization is hardly foreign to Judaism. The subject was often discussed in Jewish communities during the Middle Ages and in modern times. In the Bible it is related that the brazen aver in the Tabernacle was made from mirrors ( Exodus 38:8) and according to Rashi's commentary, these were the mirrors of the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle. The Golden Calf was also made from jewellery (ibid, 32, 3 - 4). In the Temple, worn out garments of priests were reused: " worn out priestly garments were unravelled, and from them were made wicks for the Temple" (Talmud Babli, Shabbat, 21a). The Babylonian Talmud also determines that accessories of religious observance ( when disused ) are to be thrown away and accessories of holiness are to be stored away" ( Megilla, 26b). But, even so, it was permitted to reutilize objects on condition that " what is holy must be raised (in honour or holiness) and not be brought down" (Menahot 99a ). Thus it was possible to turn an every day object into a ceremonial object, and a ceremonial object into a sacred one, but not vice -versa.

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