Obj. ID: 37322
Sacred and Ritual Objects Commemorative medal in honor of Rabbi Yitzhak Elchanan Spector, Lithuania, 1896
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
Medal in memory of Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor (1817-1896), chief Rabbi of Kovno. Kovno, Russia, [post 1896, late 19th cent.]. Obverse: image of Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor and an inscription: "HaRav HaGaon R' Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor". Reverse: the rabbi's grave, inscription: "image of the Gaon R' Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor's grave" and the dates of his birth and death.
This is a commemorative medal in honor of Rabbi Elchanan Spector, possibly to be carried as an amulet. Probably cast in the year of the Rabbi's passing, 1896, the medal was most likely a souvenir for those visiting his grave site. There is a small version of this brass medal also in the Gross Family Collection, 027.002.053 and a silver version as well, 027.001.***. Rabbi Spector was an exceptionally well know rabbinical figure in the Jewish world.
From earliest times, man has tried to protect himself from misfortune by the use of objects which he considered holy or otherwise (e.g., magically) potent. Amulets and talismans are items generally worn around the neck or wrist, carried in a pocket or purse or hung on a wall. They are meant to protect or aid those who carried or wore them. The Hebrew word for amulet, kame‘a, has the root meaning "to bind". Jewish amulets are usually comprised of texts (either letters or graphic symbols) that are inscribed on some sort of material; some may also contain plant matter or precious stones. The texts of amulets usually include holy names that are believed to have the ability to affect reality, along with incantations summoning angels or other magical powers. For the most part, an amulet has a specific purpose: to ease childbirth, facilitate recovery from illness, improve one’s livelihood, and so on, but in the modern world many are also made for general protection.
Inscription: HaRav ha-Gaon Rabbi Yitzhak Elchanan Spector