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Obj. ID: 14784
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Torah pointer, Afghanistan

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Radovan, Zev, 1988

The silver Torah Pointer consists of a hanger, a bar and a pointer. The undulating bar is flat and widest at the middle. It is decorated with an internal floral scroll pattern, set into a smooth frame and over a net backround.. It bears a dedicatory inscription engraved in square linear letters on its back side and reads:

הק[קש] על נש'[מת] רחל/ בת אליהו רבי

Translation: !Dedicated to the soul of Rachel/daughter of Eliahu Rabbi

The bar ends at the upper and the bottom by a flat stylized leaf. At the upper part of the bar hangs from a ring a chain inserted in a hole.

Summary and Remarks

In Afghanistan, the pointer was called a qalam in the local dialects. It was originally a flat silver rod with one pointed end, but eventually, both ends became wider and were decorated with foliate or other designs. Gems were added to some pointers generally embedded as a part of the foliate patterns. The common method of decorating the Afghan Torah pointer was engraving. The favorite patterns were foliate and geometrical designs along the borders of the pointer, enclosing dedicatory or commemorative inscriptions. The inscription was engraved along the upper or back side of the pointer from the holding end to the pointing one. In the 1940s, when olive-wood Torah pointers from Eretz Israel reached Herat, the design of the Afghan pointer underwent some changes. These Israeli pointers were shaped like a hand with a pointing finger. They became extremely prestigious and were used only on the Sabbath and holy days. As a result, pointers made in Herat acquired a hand and a pointing finger.

5 image(s)

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Name/Title
Torah pointer | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
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Origin
Historical Origin
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Community type
Congregation
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Location
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Site
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Period Detail
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Documentation / Research project
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Textual Content
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Shape / Form
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Material / Technique
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Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
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Material Cloth
Material Lining
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Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
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Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
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Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

Hanegbi, Zohar and Bracha Yaniv, Afghanistan : the synagogue and the Jewish home (Jerusalem: Center for Jewish Art, 1991)
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Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
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