General description: The Rabbi is in his costume for special religious days and is carrying a Torah in his arms
Dimensions 19 x 6 x 6 cm
Date when acquired 2000s
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in the Bochum region. Present from Fritz W.
Plastic body with painted features, though his moustache, ringlets (peyos) and beard are made of hair. His arms appear to be made of wire under his sleeves, though his hands are plastic. He is standing on a round black plastic base.
He is wearing the typical long, black jacket (bekishe) made of a satin-like fabric used on Jewish high holy days. Under this, he has on black trousers and black slip-on boots. Over the jacket is his white prayer shawl (tallit gadol) with black stripes at the level of his waist and hips. Around the neck of his shawl is a piece of gold braid, but this does not seem to be a normal part of the tallit; maybe it represents a chain going to the Torah.
His round brown fur hat (kolpik) is typical headwear for Hasidic rabbis on special religious occasions.
A square Torah (the Jewish holy book) made of a block of wood covered with shiny reddish-silver metal and two nails at the top showing the rollers for reading the scroll. At the front are two bands of gold at the top and bottom with a golden Star of David in the top half.
The doll’s prayer shawl (tallit gadol) is the typically large one used by Orthodox Jews and the black and white colouring is characteristic of the Ashkenazi. The Ashkenazi Jews established communities throughout Central and Eastern Europe after the diaspora. The fur hat (kolpik) is a type of traditional headgear worn in families of many Hasidic rabbis (Chassidic rebbes). It is worn by unmarried children on the Shabbat and by Rabbis on special occasions. This kolpik is made from brown fur, as opposed to the black fur of a spodik worn by Polish Chassidic dynasties. This indicates that the virtual ancestors of this doll come from Eastern Europe and not Poland.
Like in this doll, the male members of most Hasidic groups wear long, uncut sidelocks following a Biblical commandment not to shave the sides of the face. The sidelocks are called various names: Hebrew – payot, Ashkenazi Hebrew – peyos and Yiddish – peyes.
The black jacket or bekishe (Yiddish: zaydene kapote; lit. satin caftan) is traditionally made of silk. The preference for the colour black comes from a decree made by community rabbis in the 18th century stipulating that black outer garments be worn on the Sabbath and Jewish Holy Days out of the home, as opposed to the shiny, colourful caftans that were previously worn. The rabbis feared that brightly coloured clothes might arouse resentment among non-Jews thereby leading to violence. The colourful caftans are still worn indoors.
The boots are made to be slipped on so that the man does not have to do up laces and so “work” on the Sabbath.
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