47 Charity box


Tamás Trautzl

Pest, 1803

silver, embossed, engraved

deposit of the Chevra Kadisha of Pest, 1933

According to tradition, the Chevra Kadisha of Pest was founded in 1788, when only a few Jews were allowed to settle in the outskirts of the city. There was a need for a burial and charity society already before an organized Jewish community could function in the city. The budget of the society was collected as charity donations, tzedakah, from the members of the society, which was collected in money-boxes. This charity box has the form of a grave. According to its inscriptions, it was ordered by the officials of the Chevra Kadisha in 1803. There are two Biblical quotations on the face of the box: “righteousness delivers from death” ( Proverbs 10:2), and “May our Messiah come fast, for he will swallow up death forever”  (Isaiah 25:8). On the side of the box there are scenes from the vigil next to the corpse, the ritual washing of the corpse and the burial ritual. This charity box got into the collection of the Jewish Museum when in the 1930s the prominent Chevra Kadisha of Pest deposited all of its ceremonial objects in the museum, maintaining their ownership.