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Fragment of Sefer Torah

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Fragment of Sefer Torah


Basic Information

Location Toledo, Spain
Country Spain
City Toledo

General Information

Open to visitors no
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 39.8573,-4.0295


Some works at a house in Toledo brought to light this fragment of the Sefer Torah with the text of Exodus 14, 29 to 15, 14, concealed by a walling-up in the late 15th century or in the 16th century. This concealment can be put down to fear of the Inquisition, though it has not been ruled out that it could reflect the Jewish practice of burying the holy text once the document can no longer be used.

The parchment was discovered in 2006 by the archaeologist A. Ruiz Taboada during the course of some excavations carried out on some works at number 3 of Travesía de los Caños de Oro. It was hidden inside a niche behind one of the notched panels of a bricked up horseshoe arch of what must have been a house in the Jewish quarter. It seems that the last remodelling of this arch was carried out in the late Middle Ages which would leave us to believe that it may have been at this time when it was deposited there. Archaeological evidence would thus seem to indicate that the concealment occurred between the 15th and 16th centuries

The concealment of this type of documents, a relatively frequent occurrence, usually involves converts and it is attributed to their alleged desire to conceal the document owing to fear of the Inquisition. However, what is for sure is that it is unknown who the owners were and exactly why this fragment was buried in the wall. It is possible that in view of the Jewish tradition to put documents in genizot (though the place where it was found was not exactly a genizah), the aforementioned fragment was walled in so it wouldn´t be destroyed, thereby complying with the «burial» of the biblical text. The fragment can currently be found in the collection of the Santa Cruz Museum in Toledo.

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