Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Esnoga's Scrolls

The Esnoga is one of the most important historic synagogues of the world and it was built during the golden years of the Jewish community of Amsterdam. My family was there for a visit and they brought me some pictures of the scrolls featured in the adjacent Jewish Museum. The Museum's site doesn't have any pictures so I took the liberty of sharing it with my readers in this blog entry.

All of them are unique and showcase the elegance and taste of the Dutch Jews of that era.

The Megillat Esther below has some very beautiful illustrations in between each column and is written is a very odd layout - 30 lines (see my post on this subject here) and each line is way too long (each line should ideally have 30 letters, which is three times the word "lemishpechotam", but in this scroll there are more than 60 letters per line). The letter Peh has a very different shape, with a big Tag in the left top corner.

This other Megilla has 32 lines, also not standard, but the lines have the proper amount of letters. What catches my attention is the arrangements of the Parshiot - if you look carefully you will see that the Parsha of "איש יהודי" is written in the middle of the line and "אחר הדברים האלה" has a very odd layout - it starts almost where the preceding line ended. According to our Mesorah, all the Parshiot of Megillat Esther should have a Setuma layout (see my post on this subject here) and if so, this Sofer followed the Rambam's opinion of Setuma and Petucha.

Next is my personal favorite, a Sefirat Haomer scroll. This is the first time I see such scroll and it takes a little time before you actually understand what's going on. The top box is the days' count - 46 days; the middle and bottom boxes are the week's count.

Last but not least, this antique Torah scroll written in Veilish script (read more here). The top Lamed in this Sefer torah is almost bent backwords, opposite to the Lamed of our modern scrolls, which are slightly bent forward.

No comments: