What Objects Are Holy in Judaism?
29 SEP 2017
Judaism has assigned special meanings to various objects throughout its 3,500 year history. Although the six-pointed Star of David serves as a popular image of Judaism in the modern world, it has only been used for the last 200 years and is not considered to be one of the religion's holy objects. Judaism does have several holy objects that have been revered by followers for thousands of years.
1 Name of God
The name of God is considered one of the holiest objects in Judaism. Followers of Judaism are careful about how they write or pronounce the name of God. They will often write “G-d” instead of “God.” The Jews seek to protect the holiness of God's name because of the commandment after entering the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 12:3 to destroy everything related to the local idolatrous religions. The commandment said, “You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place."
Synagogues are holy places of worship in Judaism. Synagogues serve as a replacement for the holy Jewish temple that was built in Jerusalem by King Solomon. The Jewish people were dispersed into many different communities after the destruction of the Temple. Located at the center of every Jewish community, synagogues serve as houses of prayer and worship. According to the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, the traditional synagogue houses the Eternal Light, which symbolizes the eternal presence of God.
3 Torah Scroll
The torah is the holy book of Judaism. It includes the first five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These books are referred to as "the Pentateuch" in Judaism. The Jewish scribes who construct torah scrolls take great care to keep the exact text of the ancient torah intact. Scribes must pronounce each Hebrew character before copying it to the scroll.
The Siddur is a Jewish prayer book that shows the proper order of prayers. The Hebrew word “siddur” derives from the same root as the word "Seder,“ which means "order.” The siddur is considered to be a holy object and followers of Judaism will kiss the siddur before putting it away or after it is accidentally dropped on the floor.