Isidor Kaufmann (Austrian, b. Hungary, 1853-1921)
Friday Evening, c. 1920
- Oil on canvas
- 28 5/8 x 35 7/8 in. (72.7 x 91.1 cm)
- The Jewish Museum, New York
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Schweitzer, JM 4-63
Ritual and ritual objects are essential to creating this temporal "palace." The Sabbath begins on Friday evening with the lighting of the Sabbath candles. In the synagogue, a special prayer service welcomes the "Sabbath Queen" with psalms of praise. The Sabbath table, with its braided challah and wine cup, symbolizes the altar on which the ancestors of the Jewish people made bread offerings in the ancient Temple every Sabbath. At the close of the Sabbath, on Saturday evening, the havdalah ceremony marks the return to the work week. Havdalah, which means "separation," acknowledges the distinction between the holy and profane with wine, flame, and sweet-smelling spices.