BREASTPLATE, metal shield placed in front of the mantle of the Torah scroll in Ashkenazi communities. This custom did not develop in Sephardi communities because their Torah scrolls were kept in a case (tik) which did not lend itself to such additional decoration. Symbolic of, and sometimes similar to, the breastplate prescribed for the high priest (Ex. 28:15ff.), the object is often called ḥoshen mishpat, the Hebrew for the breastplate. Because of this symbolic identification, the Torah ornament often contained a reproduction of the 12 precious stones which adorned the high priest's breastplate. Since more than one Torah scroll was usually kept in the synagogue Ark, it also became customary during the late Middle Ages to indicate on each scroll the occasion or festival for which it was to be used. From this practical function there gradually developed the practice of including in the breastplate a section specifying the festival on which the scroll was to be utilized. Some of the breastplates are beautiful examples of jewish ceremonial art . See also priestly vestments . -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Gutmann, Jewish Ceremonial Art (1964), 17–18.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Breastplate — Breast plate , n. 1. A plate of metal covering the breast as defensive armor. [1913 Webster] Before his old rusty breastplate could be scoured, and his cracked headpiece mended. Swift. [1913 Webster] 2. A piece against which the workman presses… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • breastplate — ► NOUN ▪ a piece of armour covering the chest …   English terms dictionary

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  • Breastplate — This can also refer to a piece of riding equipment: see Breastplate (tack). A breastplate is a device worn over the torso either to protect the torso from injury, or as an item of religious significance, or as an item of status. A breastplate was …   Wikipedia

  • breastplate — UK [ˈbrestˌpleɪt] / US noun [countable] Word forms breastplate : singular breastplate plural breastplates a piece of metal that soldiers wore in the past to protect their chests …   English dictionary

  • Breastplate —    1) That piece of ancient armour that protected the breast. This word is used figuratively in Eph. 6:14 and Isa. 59:17. (See Armour.)    2) An ornament covering the breast of the high priest, first mentioned in Ex. 25:7. It was made of… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • breastplate — [[t]bre̱stpleɪt[/t]] breastplates N COUNT A breastplate is a piece of armour that covers and protects the chest …   English dictionary

  • Breastplate (tack) — A breastplate (used interchangeably with breastgirth and breastcollar) is a piece of riding equipment used on horses. Its purpose is to keep the saddle from sliding back, and is most helpful on horses with large shoulders and a flat ribcage. It… …   Wikipedia

  • breastplate — noun Date: 14th century 1. a usually metal plate worn as defensive armor for the breast see armor illustration 2. a vestment worn in ancient times by a Jewish high priest and set with 12 gems bearing the names of the tribes of Israel 3. a piece… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • breastplate — /brest playt /, n. 1. a piece of plate armor partially or completely covering the front of the torso: used by itself or as part of a cuirass. See diag. under armor. 2. the part of the harness that runs across the chest of a saddle horse. 3.… …   Universalium

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