THE TEMPLE CHALICE
A relief representation of the Chalice used in the Temple appears on
shekel coins minted in Jerusalem during the years of the great Judean
revolt of 66-70 C.E., when the Roman legionnaires destroyed Jerusalem,
burned and sacked the Temple and carried off to Rome its sacred vessels,
among them the Chalice used by the High Priest for the ceremony of pouring
wine upon the altar.
The artist Menahem Ben Ari Berman undertook the task of recreating the
Temple Chalice at the initiative of Prof. Nathan Andre Chouraqui who for a
long time has thoroughly studied the physical characteristics of the
Temple Chalice and devoted a great deal of attention to discovering the
symbolic meaning of its component parts.
The vessel first produced as a result of the joint efforts of Prof.
Chouraqui and the artist, is now in the possession of the former.
His views on the tangible and symbolical aspects of the Chalice are
presented below: -
The most prominent feature of the Chalice are its seven distinct levels or
gradations which represent the seven days of Creation, and its constituent
parts which symbolize the universe and the links connecting heaven and
The square base represent earth – a symbol common to the artistic
conception of both Jews and Gentiles since the days of antiquity.
The four small legs supporting the base symbolize the roots of the earth
penetrating into the abyss upon which the earth floats.
These two levels are symbolical of the first two days of Creation. The
third day is indicated by the concave lower part of the stem joining the
base to the sphere in the middle of the trunk. The sphere itself
symbolizes the heavenly luminaries created on the fourth day.
The fifth day is represented by the upper part of the stem which begins at
the sphere and goes up to the Chalice bowl which symbolizes heaven and the
sixth day of Creation.
The rim of the Chalice, its uppermost level represents Sabbath, the
seventh day on which the Lord rested from his work. It also symbolizes the
highest strata of heaven, while the circlet of globes around the base of
the rim represent the host of heavenly bodies.
The Chalice when filled with wine symbolizes the mysticism of existence,
the secret reason of Creation, known only to Him who reigns over
everything his will has brought into being.
The Chalice held by the High Priest during the ritual of Temple services
pointed out as it were the union of the heavenly and terrestrial.
THE SHEKEL CHALICE
Formed after the Temple Chalice as appears on Shekel coins minted during
the great revolt, the Shekel Chalice has been recreated and produced by
the artist in a series of eighteen units, to match the number of globes
around the rim of the original Temple Chalice.
Each Chalice of the series is made to order, marked, numbered and signed
by the artist.
A few multiples of the Shekel Chalice are still available and will be made
For more information in this matter, please contact the artist.