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.