Kapporet with biblical quotation

A kapporet (pl. kapporot) is the separate upper part of the curtain for the ark. The oldest examples of kapporot can be traced back to the 17th century. The Hebrew word kapporet refers to the golden lid of the Ark of the Covenant, also called the mercy seat, where two cherubs, angelic beings with human heads, the bodies of lions and wings, rested. The Hebrew inscription on the exhibited kapporet is a quote from the Book of Exodus 25:20: “The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, shielding the cover with their wings”, a direct reference to the origin of the name of this synagogue textile. The kapporet is richly decorated with embossed embroidery; a pair of eagles is stitched with golden thread. The symbolic meaning of eagles in Judaism can also be perceived through the affirmation from Pirkei Avot 5:23: “Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer and strong as a lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven.” A kapporet with the same decoration can be found in the collection of the Jewish Community of Žilina. It dates from the second half of the 19th century and originated in western Slovakia or Moravia. The kapporet and the parochet connect us to the Biblical past. The original centre of the religious life of the Israelites during their wandering in the desert was the tabernacle, consisting of two rooms: the larger sanctuary (Heichal), also called the Holy; and the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies (Kodesh Hakodashim). They were separated by a parochet with a depiction of the cherubs. The function of the tabernacle was later assumed by the Temple in Jerusalem. After the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans (70 CE) Judaism was transformed from a religion of a central temple cult. The centers of Jewish life in the Diaspora became synagogues and reading the Torah turned into the central element of the liturgy. [JŠ]

Western Slovakia / Moravia, last quarter of the 19th century
Velvet, golden metal thread
Height: 34 cm, width: 161 cm
ŽM-D 984 XIII-62