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Torah Crown
Breastplate (Torah shield)
Yad (Torah pointer)
Kiddush Cup
Teffilin box
Torah Pointer
Ukraine, Kiev
Late 19th century

Silver. Cast, engraved, gold-gilded, filigree


An element often included in Torah decoration is the pointer. It is called a yad, the Hebrew word for "hand." The pointer usually hangs on a chain from the Torah staves. Because everything connected with the Torah is particularly sacred, it is considered disrespectful to touch the text when reading the passages. This is not only for reasons of respect but also because the constant touching with the finger would eventually soil the Torah and require it to be reinscribed. When not in use, the yad is hung next to the Torah shield and over the mantle.