Because the Torah is the holiest item in Judaism, the ornaments used to decorate it are typically fancy, elegant and made from valuable materials, such as silver, gold and high quality silk and velvet. Torah Breastplates are no exception and are amongst the most beautiful Judaica items used to decorate the Torah. If you would like to dedicate a Judaica item in honour or in memory of a loved one and decorate the Torah at the same time, consider one of World of Judaica’s Torah Breastplates.
Torah Breastplates are made from high quality metals such as 925 Sterling Silver. In fact, silver is almost exclusively used in Torah Breastplates because of its sturdy nature and the fact that it can be engraved and inscribed with a wide range of decorations and texts. Other popular materials that you can choose from include copper and wood that has been carved, finished and painted.
Torah Breastplates frequently have depictions of the Luchot, or the two tablets Moses received on Mount Sinai, engraved in the centre. The Luchot are inscribed with either five large Hebrew letters on each tablet, or the first two words of each commandment in Hebrew. In addition, Torah Breastplates may feature items such as Torah Crowns. Other popular designs to choose from include the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel together with their emblems, the image of the Choshen - the Kohen Gadol, or High Priest’s - breastplate that contained twelve precious gemstones, floral patterns and Star of David.
Another interesting feature that Torah Breastplates have is that they can be engraved with text. Most of the text engraved on Torah Breastplates are verses from the Torah. If you would like to dedicate or purchase a breastplate, consider a verse that reflects your loved one’s life or a special occasion such as a Bar Mitzvah or Jewish Wedding or simply have the names of your loved ones engraved along the bottom of the Torah Breastplate.
World of Judaica invites you to browse our selection of Torah Breastplates made from sterling silver. Feel free to search through the collection of synagogue items such as Torah pointers and Judaica Tallit. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us and a customer service representative will be happy to assist you.
Torah Breastplate Guide
Torah Ornaments are some of the valuable pieces of Judaica and not just because they are items which decorate the most sacred Text in Judaism, the Torah. These items are made from valuable materials and because of their use to decorate the Torah, they are considered to have a degree of holiness.
What is a Torah Breastplate?
Torah Breastplates are intricately decorated Judaica items that are placed atop and on the front of the closed Torah scroll. It consists of a plate with two heavy chain loops. The chains are placed over the top of the Torah scroll, and the plate hangs from those chains which keep it in place. Like other Torah ornaments, the Torah Breastplate is on the Torah scroll when it is in transit or in storage, but not when it is being used.
Any material can be used in Torah Breastplates, but usually 925 Sterling Silver or heavily lacquered wood is used. Gold is occasionally used in these items, but generally only for accenting purposes. Gold Torah Breastplates do not exist because of the fact that such items are usually unaffordable.
Decorations on a Torah Breastplate
Torah Breastplates generally are mural-like, often having several interconnected designs on them. The most common decorations on a breastplate are the 10 Commandments in Hebrew with lions on both sides. There occasionally are two additional lions supporting a crown. Intricate floral patterns are also customary. These decorations come from comparisons of the Jewish people to lions and Mount Sinai blooming with flowers during the revelation on Sinai.
Biblical verses are also common decorations on Torah Breastplates. One especially common verse is the “Vezot HaTorah” phrase which reads “And this is the Torah that Moses (Moshe) placed before the Jewish people from G-d’s mouth into Moses’ hand”. This verse is popular because of its statement that the Torah is Divine and comes from G-d. Other common verses are those which relate to the rebuilding of the Temple and the sanctity of the Torah or the fact that the Torah is considered to be that which gives life to Jews.
There are other decorations which are also commonly found on Torah Breastplates. Those decorations include the symbols for each of the twelve tribes and the breastplate worn by the Kohen Gadol, or High Priest. It is also common for there to be bells hanging from the bottom edge of the plate.