64 cm long, 30 cm high, made of Sterling silver, gold plated brass, anodized aluminum and lucite.


This encasing for the Scroll of Esther, was designed and made in the spirit of the words of Esther 9: 26-29, which are carved into the base of the object. The object is made of two main parts – a cylindrical container for protection of the Scroll, with five cubes decorating it, and the base on which all these stand. The connecting item that, in fact, holds the Scroll, is made of transparent material in order not to play a significant part in the general form.

In the design of this Scroll encasing, the cube constitutes a main component that commemorates the pur (lot) which was cast before Haman when he came to determine the date for attacking the Jews. We do not know for certain the shape of this pur.  However, bearing in mind that even today dice used in games of chance have the shape of a cube, I have chosen this to symbolize the pur – that same pur that determined the dates for destruction of the Jews and which gave the holiday of Purim its name. Without planning, I chose the amount of five cubes with which to decorate the Scroll.  Later it occurred to me that I did so because of the game “five stones” that is part of my childhood memories. Although those stone playing cubes are not marked with numbers or any other signs, the way they are thrown is what determines the outcome of the game.

The entire object is decorated with text, as is my custom.  The text on the base is taken as is from the Book of Esther and is engraved in a clear and legible fashion, since these words served me, as I have already stated, as a basis for the design and making of this object. For the decoration of the cubes I chose four five-letter words which sum up the story of the Scroll – me-afela l’ora mi-yagon l’simha (from darkness to light, from grief to joy).

To create those letters I chose a way that relates to what characterizes the festival of Purim, as it is written: "it was turned to the contrary”.  I therefore chose two colors, gold and silver, that alternate in each letter and create a harmony of shape and color around the central cylinder.  I constructed the transparent plates that bear the Scroll in a way that allows for rotation of the Scroll on its axis so that all the letters can be seen and read.  The rims of the cylinder have been finished by covers that close the case.  These too are of contrasting colors and are decorated with texts from the Scroll.  The symbolism represents the total contradiction between the two situations – the one created by Haman’s plans and the one that resulted from Mordecai’s thwarting of those plans.  The first concludes with the words “and the city of Shushan was perplexed” and figures of thorns while the second concludes with the words “and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad”, and is decorated with flowers.

The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor – so may it be with us!

Menahem Ben Ari Berman, Jerusalem, Purim 2005