Perpetual Light

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The light kept burning over the Ark in the synagogue; Heb. ner tamid. The actual expression ner tamid is used of the menorah in the Tabernacle (Exodus 27: 20) but the light of the menorah was not left burning all the time—it burned only during the night and was allowed to go out in the morning (v. 21)—whereas the perpetual light in the synagogue is kept burning all the time. In point of fact there is no reference at all in the sources to the perpetual light in the synagogue before the late sixteenth century. Nevertheless, it is the established practice to have this light in the synagogue. Some synagogues still use an oil lamp for the purpose but in the majority of synagogues an electric light is used.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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