Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Avi Ganor
Hanukkah lamp with depiction of flaming altar flanked by lions
16th century
Bronze, cast
Inscribed in Hebrew: "For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching [Hebrew: "Torah"] is light" (Proverbs 6:23)
H: 13.5; W: 16.2 cm
The Stieglitz Collection was donated to the Museum with the contribution of Erica and Ludwig Jesselson, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum
Accession number: B86.0013 ; 118/853
A flaming altar similar to the one adorning this Hanukkah lamp appears on "fake shekels," minted from the 15th century onward in different parts of Europe. These shekels were sold to pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, as if they were the authentic coins paid as bribery to Judas Iscariot for his betrayal of Jesus. The design was based on Nachmanides’s erroneous interpretation of the urn which appeared on the ancient shekels as the "incense altar."

Benjamin, Chaya, The Stieglitz Collection: Masterpieces of Jewish Art, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1987, English / Hebrew

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir