The Torah scroll is the most sacred object in Judaism. This Judaica item is considered sacred to the degree that once the scroll is completed, we do not touch the actual scroll. It is also not touched so as to ensure we do not erase the text. Thus, when reading from the Torah, in order to show where the reader is in the scroll, we use a Torah Pointer, also known as a Yad.
The Torah pointer is a pointer with a hand at the end with one finger extended. The opposite end usually has a flower or some kind of ornate object. The chain which attaches the Torah Pointer to the scroll usually goes through this object. The chain may be a metal such as silver or steel, but some also are made of a dyed cord, normally in a respectful color such as blue, red or purple.
Torah Pointers come in a wide variety of sizes and materials. Some Torah pointers may have gemstones embedded in them. Typically, they are made of silver, but they also are made of wood, pewter, brass and gold. The more affordable wood and pewter Torah pointers typically are bright and colorful. They usually are painted with Jerusalem, Seven Species, or the Star of David. The hand is usually still made of metal.
The more expensive pointers are made of brass, sterling silver and gold. These Torah pointers are usually engraved with names, a verse from the Torah or Jerusalem. However, you can choose something different, such as flowers and vines. The most expensive Torah pointers are the gold and 925 sterling silver torah pointers which typically cost some 50 times more than any other pointer. A gold pointer is not common and typically gold only appears in trace amounts.
For those looking to give a Torah pointer as a gift, this is a fantastic gift idea for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. You can engrave the boy or girl’s name along with the date on the pointer and give it to them before their actually Shabbat ceremony so they can use the pointer with their name on it at their Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. For a Bar Mitzvah, a nice accompanying gift is an Atara, which can be engraved with a quote and sewn onto the boy's first Tallit to personalize it. The gift of a Torah pointer to a synagogue is a great way to honor a loved one. Like the Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift, you can engrave the name of the person you are honoring. This gift is one that will be passed along from parent to child and is sure to be considered a precious heirloom.