Choshen: Priestly Breastplate and 12 Tribes of Israel

Arranged in four lines and groups of three, twelve gemstones create the famous Choshen design. Known as the Priestly breastplate, the Choshen symbolism is derived from the Torah and remains a popular decoration on Judaica items: Shofars, Jewish jewelry, Shabbat Judaica and tallitot among other Jewish products.

Choshen in the Torah

In book of Exodus, God instructed the people to use onyx stones inside the tabernacle and on a garment called an ephod, the vest that the priest would wear underneath the breastplate. Then it presents the details of the 12 stones for the famous breastplate:
“They made it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. It was square — a span long and a span wide — and folded double. Then they mounted four rows of precious stones on it. The first row was ruby, chrysolite, and beryl; the second row was turquoise, sapphire and emerald; the third row was jacinth, agate and amethyst; the fourth row was topaz, onyx and jasper. They were mounted in gold filigree settings. There were twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the 12 tribes." (Exodus 39:8-14).

Inside the choshen, the priestly breastplate was "the urim and the tumim", a parchment with divine names written on it that caused the letters on the stones of the choshen to protrude and light up when the High Priest wished to ascertain G?d's will regarding some crucial question for the nation. Although it was one item, this parchment's name was double, indicating that its message was "lucid" ["urim" meaning "lights"] and "true" ["tumim" meaning "perfections"]. Therefore, the Choshen is often refered to as judgment breastplate.

12 Gems 12 tribes of Israel

It is described in the Torah that the name of each tribe is to be inscribed on the matching stone, but it doesn’t refer to the order of the stones on the breastplate. Wearing Choshen earrings or adding a Hoshen charm to a charms bracelet is a beautiful way to display you always seek divine meaning and proud to be one of 12 descendants of the Israelite tribes. The priestly blessing will be of guidance to you as it has been for the High priest in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Choshen Judaica will bring a piece of each of the twelve tribes to your home and traditions; a piece of their brave nature, the descendants of Jacob or Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph or Menashe and Benjamin.
7 Branch menorah with Choshen decoration is a beautiful way to add a bit of that Priestly magic to your living room

Surprise your loved ones with Choshen Shabbat Candlesticks– a thoughtful gift to those who cherish Jewish traditions

A Choshen charm will be a lovely and stylish gift to the birthday girl- a constant and beautiful reminder to her heritage on her silver charms bracelet

Jewish jewelry and judaica are always decorated with beautiful and meaningful symbols taken from our history and traditions. Each piece is meticoulusly crafted to evoke spiritual awakening and strengthen the bond between man and his heritage. For example, read our article about the Jewish leaders that help in building a home for the Jewish nation and how they leave their mark on Jewish contemporary gifts.

You will also enjoy our article about the latest edition of Jerusalem Monopoly Board game-quality time with the whole family and a great way to educate the children about the symbolism of Jerusalem.