Fragile historic Torah scrolls on display – but only for a few moments – ahead of Shavuot

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The precious Torah that can only be displayed for a few minutes at a time was displayed in the days leading up to Shavuot.

The National Library of Israel (NLI) has released a series of video clips featuring four of the most important Torah scrolls from its world-renowned Judaica collection.

They are so delicate that the Torah scrolls are not publicly available – they were only taken out of the NLI’s vaults for a few minutes to be filmed and photographed, with the approval and supervision of conservation experts.

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Shavuot, the Jewish holiday celebrating the giving of the Torah, is celebrated this year from the evening of June 4 until nightfall the following day.

Items on display include fragments of a 1,000-year-old Yemeni Torah scroll, which were found in a binding, as well as one of the world’s smallest readable Torah scrolls, measuring just six centimeters – about two inches and a third of height. .

The other two rolls featured have outstanding stories behind them.

Scholars believe the ‘Torah of Rhodes’ was written in Iberia in the 15th century and Sephardic refugees brought it to Rhodes, where it was used for hundreds of years in the Kahal Shalom Synagogue today. the oldest synagogue in Greece.

Just days before the Nazis deported almost all Jews from Rhodes in 1944, the scroll was smuggled out and placed in the custody of the local mufti, Sheikh Suleyman Kasiloglou.

The mufti is said to have hidden the Torah under the pulpit of a local mosque, and the scroll later survived the war, even though the vast majority of Rhodes’ Jewish community did not.

The last scroll featured in the series is believed to belong to Saul Wahl, a prominent Jewish merchant and adviser to royalty who, according to legend, served as King of Poland for a single day in the late 16th century.

The Saul Wahl Torah features staffs made of ivory and horns, and decorated with silver.

It also comes with its own miniature holy ark, with a doorway made from a 17th century Torah shield.

Each day leading up to the Shavuot weekend, the National Library of Israel posts a new clip on its English-language Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The world-leading NLI Haim and Salomon Judaica collection includes

  • the vast majority of Hebrew and Jewish books, journals and magazines ever published;
  • thousands of manuscripts in Hebrew letters,
  • digital and microfilm copies of some 90,000 of these manuscripts from collections around the world;
  • the largest collection of Jewish music in the world;
  • hundreds of personal archives of personalities.
  • Maimonides’ commentary on the Mishnah in his own writing;
  • the largest collections of ketubot and Haggadot in the world;
  • Books in Hebrew dating from the advent of the Hebrew printing press;
  • the Gershom Scholem Library – the world’s leading resource for the study of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism and Hasidism.

The entire NLI collection will soon be moved to the new National Library of Israel next to the Knesset in Jerusalem early next year.

See the scrolls here: https://blog.nli.org.il/en/lbh-torah-scrolls/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries


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