Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Friday 12th August 2022

The Prayer Hall

sanctuaryGlossary Term [1]," the equivalent of the "Holy Place"(HaKodesh) in TabernacleGlossary Term [2] and Temple. Usually placed (in the western world) on the E or SE wall (i.e in the direction of Jerusalem) is the "Holy ArkGlossary Term [3]" (Aron HaKodesh). The ArkGlossary Term [4] recalls the Biblical "Holy of Holies" (Kodesh HaKodeshim) that contained the "ArkGlossary Term [5] of the Covenant" (Aron haBrit). The portable ArkGlossary Term [6] carried on staves described in the Bible has been replaced by a feature containing the "Scrolls of the Law" (Sifrei Torah) which are the most precious items owned by the congregation.

ArkGlossary Term [7] may, at its simplest, takes the form of a movable piece of furniture, like a wardrobe, or it may be a built-in cupboard, often placed inside an apseGlossary Term [8], a complete architectural feature in itself. The ArkGlossary Term [9] protects the scrolls which, when not in use during the service, are hidden behind a curtain (Parohet), recalling the veil in Mishkan and Temple. Hanging over the ArkGlossary Term [10] is the Ner Tamid: the "perpetual lightGlossary Term [11]" which is a reminder of the candelabrum which burned continually in the Temple.

ArkGlossary Term [12] is usually elevated on steps, perhaps based on the rabbinic injunction to "go up" to the ArkGlossary Term [13] and the words of the Psalmist calling on God from "out of the depths"(Psalm 130). A common Hebrew inscription, adapted from the Mishneh, found over the ArkGlossary Term [14] is translated as "Know before Whom you stand."

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009