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August 14, 1981 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-08-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

30 Friday, August 14, 1981

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Movie Sparks Interest in Biblical Legend

Nobody e \ lls}
diamo
for les s -

By GILA BERKOWITZ

(Copyright 1981, JTA, Inc.)

4.

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Whether the Palestine Lib-
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Whether the Israeli gov-
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Who is a Jew" law? No, no,
and no!
By far and the most-asked
question, from Jew and gen-
tile alike, is: What was the
Ark of the Covenant really
like?
The question is being

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asked by hundreds of
thousands, thanks to the hit -
movie "Raiders of the Lost
Ark." While the film is pure
fun and fantasy, its depic-
tion of the Ark is close
enough to the Bible's to set
the audience wondering
what it was, what powers it
had, and what ever became
of it.
Jewish legend is rich
with speculation about
all of this. The Ark of the
Covenant is described in
the Bible as consisting of
three boxes, the outer
and inner ones of pure
gold, sandwiching one of
acacia wood. Inside-were
the Tablets of the Law
that Moses brought down
from Sinai.
Legends differ as to
whether these were the
broken tablets the whole
ones, or both sets. Two poles
ran through the sides of the
'Ark, by which it was carried
from place to place. Golden
cherubim whose wing-span
was twice the length of the
Ark were affixed to the top.
All of it was covered with a
sky-blue cloth.
Miraculous properties
and events are attributed to
the Ark. It preceded the
Children of Israel through-
out their journey in the des-
ert. When the time came to
move to a new camp, the
Ark would soar into the air
in the direction God wished
them to take. The Ark
cleared the path of all
snakes and scorpions,
burned any thorns, and
emitted a cloud of delicious
incense for the comfort of
the Israelites.
It further smoothed their
way by leveling mountains.
The enemies of the Jews
waiting in ambush in the
hills were crushed in the
process. Enemies that at-
tacked on level ground were
destroyed by fiery jets
radiating from the poles.
When Solomon moved the
Ark into its permanent
home, the Holy of Holies in
the Temple, the wings of the
cherubim fluttered out, ex-
tending the ceilings. The
Ark's dimensions existed
outside of physical reality
— it was said that the avail-
able space in the Holy of
Holies was the same
whether the Ark was in it or
not.
The premise of the
movie is that the Ark can
make any army invinci-
ble in war. The Bible it-
self rejects this opinion;
the powers of the Ark
were for the Israelites
only and worked for
them only when their
moral status pleased the
Lord. Instant death
awaited the person
foolish enough to touch
the Ark or even insult it
from afar.
So powerful was the Lou i-

Blessings we enjoy daily,
and for the most of them, be-
cause they be so common,
men forget to pay their
praises — But let not us, be-
cause it is a sacrifice so
pleasing to him who still
protects us, and gives us
flowers, and showers, and
meat, and content.

ness of the Ark that catas-
trophe 'ensued from over-'
looking the least detail of its
handling. Only Levites of
the family of K'hat, were
permitted to carry the Ark,
and they had to be espe-
cially careful. A K'hati
glimpsing part of the Ark
from under its cloth cover
would experience such di-
vine rapture that his spirit
would fly out of the world
and he would lose his life.
A man called Uzzah who,
seeing the Ark was about to
fall, reached out to support
it, was zapped by a lethal
spark. While his motive
seemed worthy, he demon-
strated a lack of faith. In
any event it was forbidden
to touch the Ark under any
circumstance.
Once in the Temple, the
Ark was approached only
once a year, on the Day of
Atonement, and then only
by the High Priest. He
would enter the Holy of
Holies dragging a long
chain. If he was not worthy
of representing the Jewish
people he would drop dead
in the chamber and his col-
leagues would have to pull
him out by the chain. -
There was no longer an
Ark in the Second Tem-
ple. Neither is the Ark
listed among the booty
taken from the First
Temple. When did the
Ark disappear and where
was it taken?
Some say that Jeremiah,

foreseeing the destruction
of the Temple some 20 years
later (in 586 BCE trans-
ported it over the Jordan to
the secret mountain where
Moses is buried.
Another legend has it
that it is buried in a cave
beneath Jerusalem, along
with the almond-blossom
rod of Aaron, a packet of
manna, and a vial of sacred
oil. The latter will be used to
anoint the Messiah, who is
destined to restore the Ark
to its people.

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BACK TO TAMARACK
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1981
Friday, Sept. 4 — Sunday, Sept,. 6

at Ortonville

Activities: Swimming, Canoeing, Fishing, Arts
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Families invited.
Counselors will be available for your kids.

Costs: $29.00 per person. Children ages 7-12
$14.50. Kids under 6 Free. $5.00 association
dues for .Alumni if not already paid.

' Applications: First Come, First Served.
Call or write:

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Camp Tamarack
6600 West Maple Road
West Bloomfield, MI 48033

(313) 661-0600

L

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