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's Archive for April, 2011

“This Night, We All Recline.” The Magnes Collection Passover Survival Guide

The symbology of Passover, the Festival of freedom, liberation, emancipation, or self-determination – depending on how one interprets the Hebrew definition of the celebration, חג החרות, chag ha-cherut – is difficult to escape. Ritual objects and material culture do not shy away from these interpretations, and instead enhance them by pointing to the practical implications [...]

Weddings and Wine: Kiddushin/קידושין

In this beautifully embroidered cloth, a central panel contains the Kiddush blessing over wine recited at meals during the festivals Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot, with special Sabbath blessing inserts in contrasting color and letter size. Beneath is a quote from Ethics of the Fathers: “…three who eat at one table and speak words of Torah, it is as if they have eaten at God’s table…” Such pieces have been identified as part of a bride’s trousseau or as wedding gifts, so the bride may have embroidered the cloth herself, or perhaps it was made for the new couple.

Counting and Recounting

According to the biblical commandment, the days and the weeks between the second day of Passover, when an Omer (a sheaf, or measure of grain) from the new barley harvest is brought to the Temple, until the festival of Shavuot, must be numbered.