Torah & Its Ornaments
University of Cincinnati Hillel Collection
These ornaments are used to top the Torah staves (called atzei chaim or “trees of life”) on which the Torah is rolled. They are known as rimmonim (pomegranates) presumably with reference to that fruit’s many seeds, corresponding to the many laws contained in the Torah, or tappuchim (apples). In Spanish and Portuguese synagogues, they are also called “bells” because of the bells often attached to them. First mentioned in 12th century texts, they earliest extant examples of Torah finials are a late 15th century pair now in the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca. Needless, to say they are the objects of artistic attention, and have been crafted in many and various ways.