The Marriage of Tobias and Sarah
6.9 cm x 10.6 cm (2 11/16 in. x 4 3/16 in.)
(Wroclaw, Poland, ca. 1500 - 1550, Leipzig, Saxony)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Isidore Simkowitz in memory of Amy Cecelia Simkowitz-Rogers, 1998
According to the Old Testament, a demon possessed Sarah, widowing her seven times, each on the night of her wedding. The Angel Raphael instructed Tobias to rid her of the demon by burning the organs of a fish in the conjugal bedchamber. Here, the rabbi joins the couple's hands reminiscent of an ancient hand-fasting tradition. The witness behind Sarah covers her nose, foreshadowing the stench of the fish. As late as 1875, bridal bed blessings invoked the holy couple:
Lord, bless the bed and those you find there; bless these dear children as you have blessed Toby and Sara. Deign to bless them also, Lord, to the end that in your name they will live and grow old and multiply by Christ, our Lord. Amen.