Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Blissful Beds

Shira Yehudit Djlilmand

Most of us don’t give much thought to our beds — it’s just the place where we get tucked in every night. But the Mishnah itself (Succah 1:3) spends time analyzing different kinds of beds —to determine whether it was problematic to have that kind of bed in a succah. The different kinds of beds that were found in every time and place are quite amazing: from nothing more than a deep pile of straw to beds that float off the ground. Read on ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Short History of Beds

Who invented the first bed? No one really knows for sure, but the earliest “bed-like” object that historians have discovered is a wooden board raised off the ground, which the Ancient Egyptians used thousands of years ago. King Tutankhamen even had a bed made of ebony and gold, covered with linen sheets! But it was only rich and powerful Pharaohs who slept like that — in Europe, even the rich and powerful were still sleeping on piles of straw.

During the time of the Roman Empire too, many rich people had luxurious beds. By now, the beds were usually made of iron rather than wood, and they were often decorated with gold, silver, or bronze. Mattresses were used, stuffed with reeds, hay, or feathers. By the sixteenth century, mattresses were stuffed with feathers or straw, and then covered with heavy fabrics — expensive velvets if you were rich, plain sackcloth if not.

In the seventeenth century, beds were commonly made of an iron frame with a lattice of ropes. The tighter these ropes were, the firmer the mattress — and so, the better the sleep. In fact, some say that’s why we say “sleep tight!”


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Yeshivah That Never Gives Up
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Nurturing every spark until it’s a full-fledged flame
He Loved to Do Good
Yonoson Rosenblum What it means to take responsibility for a fellow Jew
Out of Character
Eytan Kobre This gaping gap in my would-be wordsmithery niggles
Got Grit?
Alexandra Fleksher How can we help our kids get grittier?
10 Questions for Yoni Fishkin
Rachel Bachrach 15,000 minyanim, more than 6,500 locations, 70 countries
Lucky Day
Jacob L. Freedman Zaki got an addictive thrill from risking it all
Ghost of a Chance
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman He knew and she knew. And that was all that mattered
Giving All I Have
Riki Goldstein The song of unswerving faith
Rabbi Shloime Taussig: I’m never in the studio without…
Riki Goldstein “I make sure to do this before every job”
Last-Minute Decisions
Riki Goldstein How do entertainers know they made the right choice?
Preparation Makes Perfect
Faigy Peritzman The more we prepare, the more we can receive kedushah
Not Wanted
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Lectures usually don’t inspire — they backfire
Constant Creation
Rabbi Menachem Nissel The keys to life are safely in Hashem’s Hands
The Gardener: Part IV
D. Himy with Zivia Reischer “When there’s a pause in conversation, you can join in”