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The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe$
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Bracha Yaniv

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764371

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764371.001.0001

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The Temple

The Temple

(p.140) Chapter Five The Temple
The Carved Wooden Torah Arks of Eastern Europe

Bracha Yaniv

Liverpool University Press

This chapter reviews the concept of the synagogue as a little sanctuary that stems from Ezekiel's prophecy, and the identification of this sanctuary as the gateway to heaven based on Jacob's words. It talks about Jacob's words that became a popular inscription in houses of prayer and were painted above the entrance to the prayer hall of the synagogue in Lyuboml, Ukraine. It also explores the concept of a gateway to heaven through which prayers reach the Almighty that is deeply embedded in Jewish thought and finds expression in the annual cycle of prayers. The chapter talks about the earliest known use of biblical citations on an ark to express the concept of the gateway to heaven that was done in the Ben-Ezra synagogue in Fustat. It reflects the traditional concept of a virtual gateway to heaven as the main actual representation of a gate in the design of arks in the facade form.

Keywords:   Synagogue, little sanctuary, Ezekiel, Jacob, Jewish thought, biblical citation, Ben-Ezra synagogue

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