Torah mantle

Torah mantle

This simple Torah mantle (meil) features an appliquéd crown in the upper part and the Hebrew inscription: “Torah crown. This is the dedication of the honorable Mr. Yehiel Geiringer, may he live, with his wife, Mrs. Lea, may she live, in honor of the Torah and in honor of God in the holy community of Stampfen in the year 658 of the minor reckoning“. Stampfen was the German name of Stupava, known in Hungarian as Stomfa, a city situated in the southwestern part of Slovakia, north of Bratislava. The local Jewish community was one of the oldest in Slovakia, having been granted the right to reside there by the Hungarian counts Pálffy in the 17th century. At its peak, the Jewish population formed a quarter of the town’s inhabitants. The synagogue of Stampfen, in which this meil was probably used, was erected in 1803. It is an exceptional piece of synagogue architecture, as it represents a nine-bay type. For generations the donors of this Torah mantle, the Geiringer family, played a major role in the community. The Torah mantle serves to adorn and protect the Torah scroll that it covers. It is one of the textile ritual objects used in synagogues of the Ashkenazi rite and, along with the Torah shield (tas), Torah pointer (yad), Torah finials (rimmonim) or Torah crown (keter) ornaments the Torah scroll when it is kept in the Torah Ark. These items adorning the Torah scroll fulfill the commandment of chidur mitzvah, which means glorifying God and the commandments of the Bible through beautiful ritual objects. In oriental communities (e.g. Yemen, Iraq, India) Torah mantles are not common. Instead the Torah scroll is placed in a so-called tik, a case made of wood or metal which is often beautifully decorated. [FHJ]

Stupava, 1894/1895
Velvet, cotton, golden metal thread
Height: 80 cm, width: 41 cm
ŽM-D 1065 XIV-59

View Synagogue in Stupava

Stupava. In: Encyklopédia židovských náboženských obcí, vol. III, Bratislava 2012, p. 124.