The Torah is the most valuable Judaica item since it is considered to be the word of G-d and source of Jewish Law. Thus, Torahs are decorated with some of the most expensive materials available on the market, such a sterling silver and gold. The most expensive cloth is used as well to decorate the Torah and this is usually in the form of Torah covers. Torah covers come in two major shapes – as cases and as covers. Torah Cases are elaborate wooden containers used in Sephardic communities that have a Torah Scroll directly attached to the case. These cases are usually either lacquered and painted with Judaica motifs such as scenes from the Bible, Jerusalem and the like or are made from Sterling Silver and have floral patterns, filigree pattern or the same designs as painted cases as well as Judaica items such as Menorahs. Torah cases are usually have sterling silver ornaments such as Rimonim attached to their tops.
Torah covers are typically used in Ashkenazi Jewish communities and are cloth covers that cover the closed Torah scroll. These covers are typically made from velvet and are decorated with embroidered names of loved ones or with floral patterns as well as lions, the Luchot and scenes of Jerusalem. However, other materials such as felt and silk are commonly used as well.
If you would like to memorialize a loved one, consider a Torah cover that is embroidered with the Judaica symbol that represented that person together with his name. As an alternative, use a verse from the Torah that speaks of the divinity of the scroll.
Torah Covers Guide
The Torah is the most sacred text in Judaism and consequently is decorated and adorned with sterling silver and, gold ornaments as well as other items the underscore its importance. One of those items is a Torah Cover, which has a functional as well as decorative purpose.
What is a Torah Cover?
A Torah Cover is a decorative garment-like ornament that is placed over the top handles of a Torah Scroll and covers the entire scroll with the exception of its handles. The Torah Cover can have any number of decorations or themes that are incorporated into its design.
Torah Covers have a wooden top that has two holes in it that is overlaid with velvet. The holes fit over the top handles of the Torah Scroll and sits directly over the Torah. The cover section is made from velvet and silk. Aside for specific sterling silver ornaments that are occasionally used in a Torah Cover, most of its decorations are embroidered in colored thread.
Torah Covers are brightly decorated and can be decorated with nearly any Judaica item or scene. Some of the most common decorations on the front of a Torah Cover include lions holding the Luchot – Tablets in English – that have Hebrew letters or text on them a Hebrew words or verses relating to the Torah and sit beneath a large crown. The verses frequently found on the front of Torah Covers include “From Zion comes the Torah” and the words “Keter Torah”, which means “Torah Crown” and refers to its use as a Torah scroll decoration.
Other decorations found on Torah covers include traditional Judaica items such Stars of David, Jerusalem, Menorahs, Floral Patterns and Pillars. Gateways, especially the “Vilna Gateway”, are popular Torah Cover decorations and this mainly because of the fact that Vilna Gateway adorns the outer cover of the Talmud, an integral text that is part of the Rabbinic Traditions and oral law.
Many Synagogues have Torah Covers that are specifics for the different seasons and holidays during the Jewish Year and thus feature objects and verses that are prominent during that season of the year. Consequently, Torah Covers also feature the Four Species waved on Sukkot, the Burning Bush or Splitting of the Dead Sea for Passover and a simple white cover for the High Holidays of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.
Torah Covers are often given as gifts to a Synagogue and as such are usually dedicated in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special event such as a wedding or birth of a child. Consequently, Torah Covers can be personalized with Torah verses that relate to the even or person being honored and embroidered with their name in the center or across the bottom.