Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Elijah's chair

Please enlarge the photo to enjoy the rich detail of this special chair in the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.
Written on the chair are the Hebrew words meaning
These are the words the mohel proclaims to the guests as the 8-day-old boy is placed on the chair.
Usually the baby is then moved to the lap of the sandek (the man honored with the privilege of holding the baby during the act of circumcision); and Elijah's beautiful chair is left free for Elijah who, according to Jewish tradition, comes to witness every brit milah (circumcision).
Before beginning his quick work, the mohel recites several blessings, including this one:
"O Elijah, messenger of the covenant מַלְאַךְ הַבְּרִית , behold, yours is now before you; stand at my side and assist me."
I read that some communities use a regular chair over which is placed a nice cloth embroidered with "This is the throne [chair] of Elijah the prophet, who is remembered for good."
I noticed this one displayed in the window of a baby goods store on Jaffa Street.
It was on sale, reduced from 150 to 120 shekels.
Need one?
To see more of the Great Synagogue where the chair resides, see my post Bench on the Bima.
To understand who gets which honors in a traditional Orthodox Jewish brit, see
Non-Jewish readers might enjoy the explanation of the brit and naming ceremony at


andrea said...

tks for sending ..lovely greetings from denmark where the storm makes the livingrooms cosy

VP said...

I used jokingly to set food apart for him at convivial meetings. I was always Elijah then...

L. D. Burgus said...

This I have never heard of before now. Thanks for sharing.

Pietro said...

Dina, is the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem always open, day and night?

Francisca said...

That IS a beautiful chair! Learned again today.

Rob and Mandy said...

What a chair!
I've added a bit of ivrit to my latest post. Not much, as my ivrit is getting really bad now. It's been 15 years... Time to go back.

Hilda said...

Another fascinating post, Dina. Our babies are usually circumcised too, but never with such a meaningful ceremony.