Ark (synagogue)

Ark (synagogue)


Origin of the names

Aron Kodesh

Aron Kodesh comes from Hebrew אָרוֹן קׄדֶשׁ "ʔārōn kodeš" (i.e. "aron kodesh"), "Holy Ark". This name is a reference to the "aron ha-kodesh", the Hebrew name for the Ark of the Covenant which was stored in the Holy of Holies in the ancient Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem.


Hekhál, also written "hechal", "echal" or "heichal" — and sometimes also "Echal Kodesh" (mainly amongst Balkan Sephardim) comes from Hebrew הֵיכָל [hēkhāl] ‘palace’, a term which was also used in the time of the Temple in Jerusalem to refer to the inner sanctuary containing the Holy of Holies. The things placed inside it are only very very religious and important things.

Placement and structure

The Ark is usually placed on or near that wall of the sanctuary which is facing Jerusalem — in practice often on the East wall, even in many cases where this is not in the direction of Jerusalem, and in some cases also on a seemingly random wall which was seen as architecturally easiest when the synagogue was constructed. In those cases where the ark does not show the direction to Jerusalem, traditional Judaism instructs the worshipper to face the true direction towards Jerusalem in prayers like the Amida.

In ancient synagogues, such as the fifth-century synagogue in Susia, the torah scroll was not placed inside the synagogue at all, but in a room adjacent to it, showing that the sacredness of the synagogue does not come from the ark but from its being a house of prayer. The Torah was brought in to the synagogue for reading.

Most Arks feature a "parokhet" (curtain). The parokhet can be placed outside the doors of the Ark (typical Ashkenazi and Mizrachi custom) or inside the doors of the Ark (typical Spanish and Portuguese and Moroccan Sephardi custom).


See also

*Ark of the Covenant

External links

* [ “Aron Kodesh”] in Jewish Encyclopedia

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ark — may refer to:Religion* Ark (synagogue), a cabinet used to store a synagogue s Torah scroll * Ark of the Covenant, the consecrated container for the tablets of the Ten Commandments * Ark of bulrushes, the boat of the infant Moses * Noah s Ark,… …   Wikipedia

  • ARK — ARK, the receptacle in the synagogue in which the Torah scrolls are kept. Among Ashkenazim, it is generally called the aron or aron kodesh ( Holy Ark ; cf. II Chron. 35:3); among the Sephardim, it is known as the heikhal or sanctuary ( Ehal among …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Synagogue — • The place of assemblage of the Jews. This article will treat of the name, origin, history, organization, liturgy and building of the synagogue Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Synagogue     Synagogue …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • ark — ► NOUN 1) (in the Bible) the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Flood. 2) (also Holy Ark) a chest or cupboard housing the Torah scrolls in a synagogue. 3) (Ark of the Covenant) the chest which contained …   English terms dictionary

  • ark — [ärk] n. [OE earc < LL(Ec) arca < L, a box < arcere, to shut up, enclose: see EXERCISE] 1. Archaic a chest or coffer 2. an enclosure in a synagogue or temple for the scrolls of the Torah 3. a place or thing furnishing protection; refuge… …   English World dictionary

  • SYNAGOGUE — This article is arranged according to the following outline. origins and history until the first century first century c.e. middle ages modern period …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Synagogue — A synagogue (from Greek: gr. συναγωγή, transliterated synagogē , assembly ; he. בית כנסת beit knesset, house of assembly ; yi. שול or he. בית תפילה beit tefila, house of prayer , shul; la. אסנוגה, esnoga) is a Jewish house of prayer.Synagogues… …   Wikipedia

  • Synagogue architecture — Unlike other types of religious architecture where worship buildings often conform to consistent rules for a given architectural period such as the cruciform plan of Gothic churches, or beehive shaped shikaras of Hindu temple architecture,… …   Wikipedia

  • Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva — Infobox religious building building name = Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva Synagoga w Jeszywas Chachmej Lublin infobox width = image size = caption = location = Lublin, Poland religious affiliation = Orthodox Judaism functional status =… …   Wikipedia

  • synagogue — synagogical /sin euh goj i keuhl/, synagogal /sin euh gog euhl, gaw geuhl/, adj. /sin euh gog , gawg /, n. 1. a Jewish house of worship, often having facilities for religious instruction. 2. an assembly or congregation of Jews for the purpose of… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.