The two things you need to know about a Torah are:
They’re made of parchment, which is animal skin.
They’re written and constructed by hand, and may take up to a year to produce. They are therefore pretty expensive — up to $100,000.
Because of the cost, and because they are holy objects, a synagogue wants to take very good care of them. Skin oils can cause them to degrade over time, so they try to minimize the amount of skin contact with the parchment.It’s not forbidden in any way to touch a Torah, but we try to minimize skin contact, and using a yad is an effective way of keeping a Torah in good shape.
Yards come in all sizes and can be made of any sturdy material that won’t damage the parchment — silver is common, but they can be made of other metals, or wood, clay, or glass.They can be plain or very ornate. What almost all have in common is a tiny hand carved into the tip:
Here’s one that combines metal and crystal:
Every synagogue owns a yad that will be used by most people when they read from the Torah, but individuals will sometimes have their own, often one that they received as a gift that has special meaning to them.Thank you.
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