Israel post office gets horny for the holidays
search

Israel post office gets horny for the holidays

You may think of Rosh Hashanah as about apples and honey, Yom Kippur as about the stirring melodies and the hours of introspective prayer, and Sukkot as about sitting outdoors, braving the varying threats of heat waves, early snowfalls, or hungry yellowjackets while eating your holiday meals.

But for those of us whose bar mitzvah portion was Parshat Pinchas — Numbers 25:10–30:1, most specifically including the fifth and sixth aliyot, which are read as the musaf bonus track on holidays — it’s about the animals.

Lots of animals.

Sixteen rams, 10 goats, 73 bulls, 17 rams, and 119 lambs over the course of the Tishrei holidays (if our math is correct) on which they are offered in varying numbers (and with a constant high-gluten carbohydrate side dish).

That’s not including the two goats involved in the scapegoat ritual.

Nor the standard daily, Shabbat, and Rosh Chodesh sacrifices, as Parshat Pinchas repeatedly mentions.

Anyway, the Israeli Post Office — which has issued stamps in honor of the New Year (and the resulting mailed New Year greetings) for nearly 75 years now, has finally come around to honoring what we battle-scarred veterans of Parshat Pinchas understand to be true reason for the season: sacrificial horned ruminants.

And in so doing, the post office has used the space in the margin of each sheet of the stamps to highlight the connections between the Torah’s ingredient list and the holidays as we celebrate them today.

On the 12 shekel stamp — that’s about $3.50 — is a ram with two curbed horns. On the stamp’s tab is a single horn, now a shofar, with a notation that the shofar reminds us of the ram sacrificed in Isaac’s stead.

For 7.40 shekels you can buy the stamp featuring a goat, with the tab featuring a verse from Leviticus concerning the Yom Kippur scapegoat ritual: “And the goat shall bear upon itself all their iniquities to a barren land.”

Finally, the 2.60 shekels stamp features a bull, and you get a picture of the Temple on the tab, along with a quote from the Talmudic tractate Sukkah explaining that the 70 bulls offered on the holiday of Sukkot correspond to the proverbial “70 nations of the world,” whose rainfall, Rashi explains, is determined by God on the holiday of Sukkot and who — according to the teachings of Zechariah read as the haftarah on the first day of Sukkot — will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot in the messianic era.

read more:
comments