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The cover in the form of an elongated rectangle was hand-sewn of a fabric with a tiny geometrical and floral design. On the obverse, in the cartouche, taking on the form of a laurel wreath, there is an embroidered donative inscription which reads:

זנ | אשה צנועה | מרת הינדא ז”ל |
בת הרב המ הג’ | מ’ שמואל כץ שנ’ | תעג לפק

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The cover in the form of an elongated rectangle was hand-sewn of a fabric with a tiny geometrical and floral design. On the obverse, in the cartouche, taking on the form of a laurel wreath, there is an embroidered donative inscription which reads:

זנ | אשה צנועה | מרת הינדא ז”ל |
בת הרב המ הג’ | מ’ שמואל כץ שנ’ | תעג לפק

(“This is a gift from a humble woman, of blessed memory, Hinda, the daughter of the grand rabbi Samuel Kac, in the year (5)473” [=1713].)*

On the two sides of the letters, זנ, there are two birds symbolising souls in the Garden of Eden. On the other side of the mantle, the Star of David (Megen David) is sewn, formed of gold and silver bobbin lace.
The rolls onto which the Torah scroll was rolled were put through the two holes in the upper part. The silver and white tones of colours indicate that the mantle was used in the synagogue in the period of the Ten Days of Repentance (Yamim Noraim), connecting the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The mantle plays multiple functions: it protects the Torah from being destroyed or stained, and it decorates and secures it from being touched by a bare hand. The scroll itself is compared to the Betrothed and the Queen in a festive attire. Therefore, the cover, sewn of expensive fabrics, decorated with appliqués and finely embroidered, is indented to resemble a royal coat. The act of placing a mantle on the scroll in the synagogue is very ceremonial, being a sign of respect for the teachings and wisdom contained in the Torah.
The item is one of the oldest and most precious Judaica in Poland.

*Translation into Polish by Eugeniusz Duda; English translation based on the Polish text

Elaborated by Anna Lebet-Minakowska (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Torah mantle (Meil) from the synagogue in Szumsk near Krzemieniec

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