Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner
Chairs for the Hatan Torah and Hatan Bereshit
The Cases Family Synagogue

Mantua, Italy
1770
Wood, carved and gilt
H: 121.5; W: 60 cm
Gift of Dr. Jonatan Prato, Jerusalem, in memory of his father, David Prato, the Chief Rabbi of Rome
Accession number: B72.0161(a-b)
 
 
The man called up for the reading of the final verses of the Torah on Simhat Torah is called hatan Torah (“bridegroom of the Torah”); the man called up right afterwards for the first verses of Genesis is the hatan Bereshit (“bridegroom of Genesis”). Being chosen for these roles is considered a great honor, and the hatanim were escorted to and from the synagogue on Simhat Torah to the accompaniment of cheers and dancing.
In some communities, it is customary during the service for the two men to sit on elaborately decorated chairs like those exhibited here, usually on either side of the Torah ark.


Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir