Beyond its practical usage in pointing out letters, the yad ensures that the parchment is not touched during the reading. There are several reasons for this: handling the parchment renders one ritually impure and the often-fragile parchment is easily damaged. Moreover, the vellum parchment does not absorb ink so touching the scroll with fingers will damage the lettering. While not required when chanting from the Torah, it is used frequently and is considered a hidur mitzvah (“embellishment of the commandment”) of reading the Torah.
The Jewish Cultural Quarter
The Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam consists of the Jewish Historical Museum, the JHM Children’s Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, and the National Holocaust Museum.
The Jewish Cultural Quarter invites its visitors to acquaint themselves with Jewish culture and history, to deepen their existing knowledge, and to think actively about the subject of cultural diversity. Their basic principle is to make the Jewish story accessible in a positive way to as much of the general public as possible.
The Jewish Cultural Quarter offers a range of fascinating exhibitions, all pertaining to the past, present and future of Jewish culture. Book your tickets for a visit, or discover a part of the collection in the online museum.
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