The synagogue is named after Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav, a renowned 15th century Spanish Rabbi and Kabbalist. Tradition claims he designed the synagogue while still in Spain, incorporating kabbalistic symbols into the design. When they arrived in Israel, his disciples built the synagogue according to their master’s design. Another tradition say the synagogue was built in Spain, but after the expulsion it miraculously moved to Tzfat overnight after a Kabbalistic ritual performed by the Kabbalist Rabbi Suliman Ochana. Like the Holy Temple that once stood in Jerusalem, the synagogue entrance has an outer and an inner entrance separated by a courtyard. The interval between the inner and outer gates allows the worshipper to compose himself and enter the synagogue in an appropriate frame of mind.
Inside, three arks stand along the southern wall facing Jerusalem, This wall has withstood two earthquakes as well as various battles and assaults. It is the only part of the original building still standing. The ark on the right holds two Torah scrolls, one written by Rabbi Abuhav in Spain, the other written by a student of the Ari in the 16th century. This ark is opened only three times a year: on Yom Kippur, Shavuot, and Rosh HaShana.
Facing the center ark, it is used in the circumcision ceremony. The small chair attached to it is for the baby. The silver memorial plaque above the chair is for the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
The seats face the central Bima where the Torah is read and, from where, following the Sephardic custom, the entire service is also recited. According to Kabbalah it has six steps, each representing a day of the week. This symbolizes man’s striving to raise his spiritual level each day, until he reaches the highest level — the Shabbat, or Torah.
The predominant color of the synagogue is blue. The Torah commands Jews to put a blue thread in the tallit (prayer shawl). Jewish tradition teaches that blue suggests the heavens, which induces thought of G-d. The color thus helps direct thoughts and prayers to G-d
Introducing the ‘TZFAT-BARMITZVAH’ EXPERIENCE IN TZFAT