Saturday, June 29, 2013


Hanukkah in Modern Hebrew; a transliteration also romanized as ChanukahChanukkah or Chanuka, also known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Greeks of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash ("attendant") and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for practical use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves for purposes other than publicizing and meditating on the Hanukkah is forbidden.

The stamps on this FDC postmarked 9.12.1993 were issued during the Stamp Week celebrating the Festival of Hanukkah from 9th to 16th December 1993. I have given below a few details of the stamps on the cover. Seen from Left to Right.

The Rothschild Miscellany. Northern Italy, 1470. Vellum, handwritten, pen and ink, tempera and gold leaf; gift of James A.  de Rothschild, London, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Coll. No. 180/51. The Rothschild Miscellany is one of the finest Hebrew illuminated manuscripts.  Almost every one of its 948 pages is richly decorated with colourful  paintings and gold leaf. The book which comprises about forty different compositions, includes biblical books, a prayer book for the whole year, halakhic books (Jewish law) and historical and scientific books. The manuscript, which belonged to the Rothschild family library in Paris, disappeared during the Second World War and reappeared after the war, which it was offered for sale in New York. This series of Hanukka issues comprises 8 stamps representing the 8 days of the festival.The stamps depict objects connected with Hanukka and on the right side of each stamp is an illustration of a Hanukka lamp with candles – from the first candle to the eighth candle.

Hanukka Lamp, Eretz Israel. 20th Century Carved Stone, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Israel Museum Collection No. 118/373 Measurements: Height 16.2 cm. Width 37.5 cm. Depth: 20.6 cm. The stamp shows a Hanukka Lamp, the work of a Yemenite artist who lived in Jerusalem at the beginning of this century.  The Hanukka Lamp is carved from Jerusalem stone in the shape of a building with nine triangular pans for oil wicks: eight for the sacred lights and one for the “Shammash” – the extra light from which the Hanukka lights are kindled.  The building, which has a crenellated roof, recalls architecture in the Yemen.

Oil Lamp, Talmudic Period. Reuben and Edith Hecht. Museum, University of Haifa. The oil lamp was used to light both private houses and public buildings.  The lamps were also placed in tombs, as memorial lights and to protect against the “Evil Eye”.  In Israel olive oil was generally used as fuelsince it was the only oil which was acceptable under the laws of the Torah. The lamp from the Talmudic Period, depicted on the stamp, is made of clay using a press mould.  The lamp is decorated with a seven-branched menorah and a shovel.  The menorah is decorated with squares each with a circle in the middle, a design which emphasizes the parts or bulbs which make up the menorah.

Thank you Dear Merja for this lovely FDC.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely FDC. Viridian, stopping in from Sunday Stamps.