The "Counting of the Omer" is the ritual counting of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. In this manuscript, these days and their corresponding numbers, are inscribed in 49 quatrefoils. F. 18r shows a menorah with the seven verses of Psalm 67 inscribed in microscript on the seven arms of the candelabrum. The scribe Baruch ben Shemaria from Brest-Litovsk (Belarus) created this manuscript in Amsterdam in 1795 for Aaron ben Abraham Prinz, of Alkmaar in the Netherlands, as noted on the title page. The drawing on f. 1r, a page of calligraphic decoration, depicts the giant Samson as Atlas, since, according to rabbinical tradition, he was endowed with superhuman strength.
Online Since: 12/18/2014
This decorated ketubah, as well as Braginsky Collection K29 produced just six years earlier, represent the height of ketubah illustration in Ancona. The text of this ketubah is centered under the arch supported by a pair of ornamental columns. While arches were commonly used as framing devices in ketubah decorations since the earliest known ketubot from the Cairo Genizah, the gold letters inscribed here against the blue spandrels provide an additional meaning. The six square Hebrew letters, an acronym for Psalms 118:20: “This is the gate of the Lord, through which the righteous may enter”, signify that the bridal couple is symbolically passing through the heavenly gate into a sanctified stage in their life. A depiction of the sacrifice of Isaac, an allusion to the bridegroom whose second name is Isaac, is located in a cartouche at the top center. This scene, a symbol of faithfulness and messianic promise that appears on many italian ketubot, has been the most popular biblical story in Jewish art over the ages. The female figure beneath has not been identified so far.
Online Since: 03/22/2017