19th Century Torah Pointer (Yad)

19th century

 Incised tapered silver rod in three sections, with vine and leaf pattern, finished off with a hand in pointing position.  The pointer is lacking its normally attached chain although the loops for the chain are present.

Stem appears to be Austri-Hungarian, late 19th Century; hand probably Polish, early 19th century.

Identifer: CJF.2009.001.233


Items on Display; Torah & Its Ornaments

University of Cincinnati Hillel Collection

The pointer, developed in response to the rabbinic ruling that, the Torah, because of its sanctity, should not be touched by bare hands.  So a pointer was fashioned to follow the text without touching it.  The form developed for this purpose in most countries was a rod terminating in an outstretched finger.  It is therefore called a yad (Hebrew for hand).  As a standard item among Torah ornaments, the yad is distinguished by a myriad of designs and supplementary adornments. It may therefore be seen as a work of art as well as a ritual object.

Gift of Howard Brecher, David Fingerman, Dick Friedman, Jerry Goodman, Bruce Goldstein, Buddy Hertzman, Irv Lautman, Penny Manes, Alan Solinger, Walter Solomon, Harold Wagner, Bea Winkler.


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