Thursday, April 12, 2007

Electric Temple Candelabras

"I hold it to be clear and simple that, if electrical lighting had been extant in Temple times, most certainly it would have been employed in the Temple candelabrum. for it is inconceivable that we should illuminate our private homes with that great, wonderful electric light, which is verily after a heavenly model - and yet illuminate God's holy palace with olive-oil, which even the poorest of the poor despise in our time. It is therefore obvious that we shall illuminate the future Temple, may it be built speedily in our days, with electrical lights. Amen"

(R. Yosef Messas; Ner Mitzvah, 1939. Trans. Zvi Zohar: Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times, p.76)

I like the seemingly "modernist-romantic" sentiment towards electrical light, which is referred to as a "heavenly model". It also says something about the actual level of modern technology, which comes with modernism of the great amount of the population that is reflected in a Sephardi pasak from 1930's North Africa...a time, place and people Ashkenazim often romanticize as "simple"[-minded...], and 'uncorrupted' by modernism and technology.


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>