Waves JosefMozesAharonDavid

  • Issue: September 1999
  • Designer: E. Lorentsov
  • Stamps Size: 25.7 mm x 40 mm
  • Plate nos.: 374, 375, 376, 377
  • Sheets of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

"Ushpizin" are guests, guests from on high who come to visit the Sukkah during the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles). The Sukkah commemorates the booths, or tabernacles, in which the Children of Israel dwelled after leaving Egypt, during the time of their wanderings in the desert until they reached the Land of Israel. According to rabbinical tradition, the Sukkot were seven clouds of honor that surrounded the Children of Israel. The sixteenth-century kabbalists regarded these clouds as a symbol of the "seven spheres", which are the seven stages in which God revealed Himself to the world. Hence, dwelling in the Sukkah is referred to in the Book of Zohar as "tzel halemunah" (shadow of the faith), since it is an expression of the protection of God. During the time of dwelling in the Sukkah, it is visited by representatives of the seven spheres, our righteous ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David. These are the fathers of the Jewish nation, who were instrumental in bringing God to the world, building the Tabernacle and laying the foundations for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem; and it is they who will accompany the Messiah when he comes to redeem the Jewish people. The Ushpizin visit the Sukkah only if poor people are also invited to it, and the portions given to the poor are the share of the Ushpizin. On each evening the owner of the Sukkah utters an invitation to the heavenly Ushpizin, in the following words: "Enter my Sukkah and be seated", and one of the Ushpizin, whose designated day it is, enters first, followed by the others. The order is as follows: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joseph and David. There are those who place a decorated arm chair or seat in honor of thp, Ushpizin, or hang in thp. Sukkah strips of paper on which their names are written.


The father of the Jewish nation, followed God's commandment and left the city of his birth, Ur Casdim, for the Land of Canaan. Abraham fought idolatry and disseminated the belief in one God. Scripture states: "And Abraham planted a tamarisk-tree ("eshel") In Beer-Sheva, and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God" (Genesis 21:33). According to a legend of the Sages, "eshel" is an orchard or inn where Abraham hosted his guests, and when they sought to thank him he told them: "Thank and praise and bless Him by Whose utterance the world was created".


The son of Abraham and Sarah, born to them in their old age. Abraham was put to the test by God, when he was commanded to sacrifice Isaac on mount Moriah. He built an altar, laid wood and bound Isaac on it (hence the name "Akedat Yitzhak" - the binding of Isaac). While still holding the knife ("maahelet"), an angel called to him and stayed his hand, sending him a ram in Isaac's stead. Scripture states: "And Abraham called the name of that place 'Adonai-jireh'; as it is said to this day: 'In the mount where the Lord is seen'" (Genesis 22:14). It was on mount Moriah that Solomon built the Temple. (Second Chronicles 3:1).


The son of Isaac and Rebeccah, born the twin of his older brother Esau. Jacob appropriated, by deception, the blessings intended for Esau, and fled to Haran in fear of his life. On leaving Beer-Sheva for Haran, alone and penniless, he fell asleep in the dark with a stone under his head. In his dream he saw a ladder set up on earth with its top reaching to heaven, and angels ascending and descending it. God promised to watch over Jacob and protect him on his way, and to give the Land of Canaan to his descendants. At the end of his dream, the Bible says: "And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not'". (Genesis 28;16).


The son of Jacob and Rachel, whose brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites. Joseph was taken to Egypt and put in prison, where he was revealed as an interpreter of dreams. After interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, he was appointed viceroy, as it is written: "And Pharaoh said unto his servants: 'Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?'... And Pharaoh said unto Joseph... "Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou'". (Genesis 41:38-40).


The son of Amram and Jochebed, born during the time of the Jewish people's bondage in Egypt. Moses was a shepherd. In the desert, on mount Horeb, God appeared to him out of a burning, thorny bush ("sneh") and charged him with the mission of taking the Jewish people out of Egypt. During the revelation, God said to him: "He said: 'I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God ofJacob'. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God"(Exodus 3:6).


Aaron and his younger brother, Moses, took the Jewish people out of Egypt and led them on their journey through the desert. Aaron and his sons were chosen to serve as priests in the Tabernacle and in the Temple. Aaron was the first High Priest ("Cohen Ha Gadol"). He wore eight vestments: tunic, breeches, miter, girdle, blue robe, ephod (worn over the robe), breastplate and golden plate (worn on the forehead). Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, containing the Holy Ark, alone, in order to offer incense and sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice, as it is written: "And there shall be no man in the tent of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel" (Levitinus16:17),


David, son of Jesse, of the Tribe of Judah, was anointed King of Israel by the Prophet Samuel, after the reign of Saul. He united the Tribes of Israel into a homogeneous nation and made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom. His descendants continued ruling after him up to the destruction of the First Temple, and according to tradition, the Messianic king will be a scion of the House of David. David was a man of valor, a warrior and military commander, a musician and sweetvoiced singer. Tradition attributes to him the authorship of the Book of Psalms. Legend tells that his lyre hung above his bed, and that on the stroke of midnight a northern wind would blow and his lyre would play of its own accord. Immediately, David would arise from bed to engage in the study of the Bible, as it is written: "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee because of Thy righteous ordinances" (Psalms 119:62).
Dr. Dov Herman Bar-Ilan University

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Festival Stamps (5760) 1999