Havdalah Set By Israel Dahan
Havdalah Set By Israel Dahan
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The Havdalah tools are some of the most complex objects of Judaic ritual. In this set, each element is made of smooth, polished silver, and laid in its own unique niche on a base of dark wood. The niches in the wooden base evoke a sense of a repeated action, grooves made over time by placing the same vessels in precisely the same spot over generations. The design dictates the action, making it impossible to put the elements down carelessly; the performance of the ritual demands full attention and presence of mind.
Materials: Sterling silver, wood
Candleholder: 98.4/45.2/35.4 in
Spice Holder: Height 0.9in, Diameter 2.3in
Goblet with triangular leg: Height 5.5in, Diameter 2.5in
All bases:Height 0.7in, Diameter 4.7in
The Havdalah ceremony—used to distinguish between the end of the Shabbat and the beginning of the week—involves lighting a special Havdalah candle with several wicks, blessing a cup of wine, and smelling sweet spices and aromatic herbs. At the conclusion of the Havdalah, the flame of the candle is extinguished in the cup of wine, as a sign that the candle was lit solely for the mitzvah of Havdalah. The ritual is conducted on Saturday evening, after the appearance of three stars in the sky. It is intended to require a person to use all five senses: to feel the cup, smell the spices, see the flame of the candle, hear the blessings, and taste the wine. The activation of the senses brings the soul back from the spiritual dimension of the Shabbat.
The Havdalah tools are some of the most complex objects of Judaic ritual. They include the kiddush goblet, the besamim spice holder, and the Havdalah candle. In the set designed by Dahan, each element is made of smooth, polished silver, and laid in its own unique niche on a single base of dark wood. The only embellishments are the reflections of the surrounding participants in the ceremony, mirrored by the flawless silver. The niches in the wooden base, while clearly part of the design, evoke the repetition of an action, of dents made over time by placing the same vessels in precisely the same spot. Nothing is left to haphazard chance; every movement is preordained in this millennia-old ritual.
On one side of the base sits the besamim spice holder, a triangle of curved, elegant lines, designed so that it can be easily and comfortably grasped, as it needs to be handed around the table for all participants to smell. The goblet sits on the other side of the wooden base, held in place by a leg with three perfectly round silver balls carefully set to rest in their indents on the goblet’s silver plate. The plate, in turn, sits in three matching indents in the wooden base. At the center of the base stands the braided Havdalah candleholder, placed on a four-cornered leg whose design reflects that of the spice holder and the goblet. The candleholder is flat, delicate in its form, and allows one to raise or lower the holder according to the height of the candle, since its height changes as it is reused every Saturday evening. The design of the set dictates the action, making it impossible to place the elements in their place carelessly; the performance of the ritual demands full attention and presence of mind.
Born in a village in Morocco in 1944, Israel Dahan immigrated to Israel as a teenager and studied the art of the goldsmith at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Dahan creates his objects in keeping with Halacha (Jewish religious law), but his pieces are far from conventional: he provides new interpretations for traditional objects, maintaining a delicate balance between his drive to create and innovate while ensuring that his pieces fulfill their traditional role in ritual. His pieces manifest the ceremonious act in which they play a part, as special attention is given to the way they are held, used, and laid to rest: actions crystallized in tangible form.
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