A Wandering Bible: The Aleppo Codex
---The Aleppo Codex as a Symbol
Once the Aleppo Codex had left Aleppo and reached Jerusalem, the conditions under which it was kept changed completely. In Aleppo it had been enveloped in an aura of mystery and kept in a locked chest, far from the public eye. In Jerusalem, however, in the Shrine of the Book, it is on public view. Many printed editions of the Bible base their texts on the Aleppo Codex: The critical edition being published by the Hebrew University Bible Project; the scientific edition being published by Bar-Ilan University – Mikra’ot Gedolot “Haketer,” which includes the Masorah Parva and Masorah Magna from the Aleppo Codex; and, most recently, a new edition of the Hebrew Bible inspired by the Aleppo Codex, entitled Keter Yerushalaim (Jerusalem Crown).
After some one thousand years of wandering, the Aleppo Codex has reemerged in Jerusalem. It is now on display together with the Dead Sea Scrolls – they too were “brought to life” after two millennia. Interestingly, three of the scrolls were purchased by Professor Sukenik only a few days before the synagogue in Aleppo was burned This unique symbolism enhances the significance of the Shrine of the Book, whose very form represents the idea of the rebirth of the Jewish people after two thousand years of wandering, exile, and near-annihilation; to quote the prophet Ezekiel in his “Vision of the Dry Bones” (37:14): “I will put my breath into you and you shall live again. . . .”
“They shall not profane the city where I abide, for I, the Lord, abide amongst the children of Israel for ever and ever” (Temple Scroll XLV:13–14).