Focus Questions

What does this object make you think of?  Does it remind you of something you have seen before?

Which part of the object do you notice most?  Why did you notice that part?

Why do you think these images were chosen for a Passover plate?

Have you noticed...The two larger figures? Can you guess who they are? Click to reveal answer

On the right hand side is Moses carrying the 10 commandments carved into the stone tablets. On the left is Moses’ brother Aaron; the first priest.

Explore themes

Passover Plate

Passover Plate

Passover Plate

This beautiful plate was used at the festival of Passover and includes biblical scenes and text in Hebrew and Arabic.

Passover Plate
Print Zoom

The Object

Object name: Passover Plate
Date: Unknown
Catalogue number: C 1999.2.43
Material(s): Brass plate inlaid with silver
Size: 33cm in diameter
On display in the Jewish Museum? No

This plate is full of images and symbols about the history of Judaism.

  • Look closely at the plate to see the stories told in pictures. There is the story of a family tree, the story of Abraham binding Isaac, the story of two brothers, the story of 12 brothers and the story of Moses leading the Jewish people out of Egypt; the story of Passover.
  • At the top of the Passover Plate is an image showing the story of Abraham ready to sacrifice his son Isaac just as God has asked him to. Zoom into the picture to see Isaac lying down and his father Abraham standing at his head. Above them appears the angel saying that God has asked them to stop. The Hebrew writing on this picture reads “The Binding of Isaac” which is how we remember this story. Above the image is a cartouche with Arabic written inside. The Arabic is also read right to left and refers to the story of Moses.

The Story

The Family Trees

This Passover Plate is similar to a family tree. In the middle of the plate are three generations of men. Abraham is in the middle. To the left of Abraham is his son Isaac and on the right of Abraham is Isaac’s son Jacob (later renamed Israel). That is three generations.

The 12 sons above are the sons of Jacob (four generations from Abraham). Moses and Aaron are the decedents of Levi (the third son of Jacob).

Moses and Aaron

Look closely at the plate to see the image of Aaron; the first priest. Torah scrolls are dressed and decorated in a similar way to how Aaron is dressed. Look at the robe Aaron is wearing, it is similar to the cloth mantel that the Torah wears. Look at the breastplate that Aaron is wearing, the Torah is decorated with a similar breastplate. Look at the bottom of Aaron’s robe to see the bells that are attached. The Torah has bells on its crown called rimonim which look like pomegranates and jingle when the Torah is moved.

The Sons of Jacob

Find the 12 circular discs at the top of the plate. Each disc has a symbol inside. These symbols represent the 12 sons of Jacob; a forefather in Judaism. Remember Hebrew is read right to left so start at the lowest right hand side disc which shows the image for the son named Reuben. After that is Simeon (sword), Levi, Judah (lion), Issacher, Zebulun (boat), Dan (snake), Naphtali (deer), Gad (camp), Asher, Joseph and Benjamin. Under each disc are 12 pictures of men, these are the 12 sons again.

 

Digital Takeaway

Download this PDF about celebrating Passover.

Celebrating Passover PDF