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According to tradition, the Ark contained the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. In ancient times, the Ark, carried by priests, led the people to battle. The Bible tells us that, when the Ark moved forward, Moses cried: “Rise up, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” According to legend, the Ark was hidden under the Temple at the time of the Babylonian exile. The second Book of Maccabees relates that the prophet Jeremiah hid the Ark on Mount Nebo, where it would remain until the coming of the Messiah. A Holy Ark found in every synagogue contains the Torah scrolls used in the services. The Ark traditionally faces east, toward Jerusalem. It is opened on special occasions when certain solemn prayers are recited. Great attention has been given to the structural beauty of the Ark, usually the most decorative part of the synagogue.

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