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's Archive for September, 2010

To Cherish the Fruit of a Beautiful Tree: Etrog Containers in the Magnes Collection

The etrog (Heb. אתרוג, citrus fruit) is one of the “Four Species” used during the rituals relating to the Festival of Sukkot (or Tabernacles). Following rabbinic interpretations (based on the Mishnah and the Talmud, Sukkah), the “Four Species” (a date palm frond, myrtle and willow branches, and an etrog) are typically acquired during the days between Yom Kippur [...]

Happy Sukkot! חג סכות שמח

Sukkot celebrates the end of the harvest season. Families and their guests enjoy festive meals in little huts decorated with seasonal fruits and vegetables, recalling the temporary dwellings of the biblical Israelites during their desert wanderings.

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.