Written in northern Italy in 1479, this Haggadah is one of the most exquisite sections of the Israel Museum's Rothschild Miscellany, a manuscript unrivalled in richness and scope. Medieval haggadot are among the most extensively decorated of all types of Hebrew manuscript, but the Rothschild Haggadah is exceptional for its elegant and elaborate illustrations of the Passover story. The original owner, Moses ben Yekutiel Hakohen, must have been a prosperous man who commissioned a manuscript to reflect his sophisticated and learned background, because the manuscript is remarkable not only for the fine quality of its illumination but for the richness of its marginal texts. This copiously illuminated and illustrated Haggadah comprises the Ashkenazi Passover-eve service as we know it today (except for Grace after Meals which was deliberately omitted by the scribe) as the main text in the centre of the page. In the margins is Maimonides' Hilkhot Hamez Umatsah, 'Laws Concerning Leavened and Unleavened Bread' a classical survey of Passover and its ceremonies. In addition, the exquisitely illuminated section devoted to the piyyutim (liturgical poems and songs) for all four evenings of the festival of Passover has been included, in the margins of which is a medieval text on weights and measures.
The Rothschild Haggadah
London: Facsimile Editions Ltd., 2000
- Commentary (English) by Schonfield, Jeremy; Loewe, Raphael; Fishof, Iris; Falter, Joseph
- Limited Edition: 550 copies
- Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Rothschild Haggadah: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.
Gold foil leaf has been applied to a raised surface on each page using a special hand process that closely replicates the burnished gold of the original document. Powdered gold was applied to all the illustrations that contain it in the manuscript.
A translation of the texts of the Haggadah and of the piyyutim has been provided in the commentary volume to the facsimile edition: two of the sequences of piyyutim had never been made available in English before. The commentary also includes an informative introduction to the texts in the manuscript and to the themes of Passover, a summary of the marginal texts on numismatics, weights and measures and Maimonides laws concerning Passover, and a foreword in which is given the background to the acquisition of this manuscript, one of the Israel Museum's greatest treasures.
Fine white vellum.
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