Destroyed Historic Stone Carving Replaced in Hebron Casbah

A replica of the "three Menorah lintel" has returned five years after the original was destroyed.

26.11.19, 22:23
A replica of the "Mashkof HaMenorot" or Lintel of the Menorahs has been restored in the Hebron casbah five years after it was destroyed. The historic decorative stone carving for generations adorned the doorway in what once was the "Jewish ghetto" of Hebron.
In 2014, the doorway and wall where the artifact existed for generations was found removed and replaced with plain bricks. The old neighborhood, once home to Kabbalists Corner, Beit Hausman, and other Jewish property has since become an Arab marketplace. The area falls in the H2 section of Hebron, under Israeli control, but outside the modern Jewish community's boundaries. Israeli civilians are allowed access approximately once a week.

On Thursday, a replica was affixed above the archway near where the original once existed. The project was conducted in coordination with officials from the Jewish community of Hebron, and the Israeli Civil Administration. A plaque was placed on the wall nearby.

Head of Coordination in Hebron for the Civil Administration Lieutenant Colonel Moshe Tetro, stated, "replacing the Mashkof HaMenorot is an historical justice. Jewish narrative and history cannot be erased in Hebron. We will continue to work to preserve the city's archaeological traditions and sites."
Historian and long-time Hebron spokesman Noam Arnon was at the site as well, and photographed helping affix the carving. Arnon was instrumental in having the original copied in case of vandalism.

The seven-branched Menorah, or candelabra, is a familiar Jewish symbol often associated with the holiday of Chanukah. The original stones were estimated to be from the time of the Second Temple Era. They originated in a synagogue in Gaza, and were later moved to Hebron.

Sefer Hevron a compendium of Hebron history edited by Oded Avisar relates a tradition about the archway:

"Back in one of the dark alleys of ancient Hebron, a gate still has a lintel with three ashlars, each of which has a menorah engraved on it. However, the two outer ones stand upright with the middle upside down. When the elders of Hebron, at the beginning of this century, were asked about the nature of this lintel, they would tell a wonderful legend:

Rabbi Jacob ben Yosephia came to Rome and stood by the Arch of Titus. He stood and wept until he made a vow, for if the Holy One, blessed be He, brought us up to the Holy Land, his house would be built in the City of the Patriarchs.
When Rabbi Jacob ben Yosephia arrived in Hebron, he set up a lintel with three carved ashlar stones on the gate of his house. But they would ask: Why are two standing upright while the third, the middle one, is the opposite? And there were three answers: a symbol of the three towers that were built at the time on the graves of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
But when the Crusaders came and approached the Cave of Machpela, the wrath of Isaac our father struck and smote those who came with blindness. The Crusaders left and their eyes opened again. When they returned for a second time, he struck them with blindness again, but when they dared to enter the cave, Yitzhak's tower fell on his face, leaving only the other two towers of Abraham and Jacob, who were merciful and forgiving, standing on the ground to this day.
And so are the three menorahs: the first and last stand upright while the middle - upside down with its head down."
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