Passover Haggadah


This manuscript is a Haggadah. This Hebrew term is derived from a Hebraic root meaning a tale, particularly an edifying tale or story. Jewish law commands its followers to retell each year, from generation to generation, how the Jews fled Egypt as well as the miracles performed by God at the time. The Haggadah is a collection of chosen texts from the Bible and the Talmud that facilitates the celebration of the family liturgy on the first two nights of Passover during holiday meals. This manuscript is embellished with 76 color illuminations. Six initial words are written in large print, in color, with silver or gold. These illustrations depict episodes from the Biblical passages that celebrate the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and the original Passover, when Jewish children were spared in the last of the ten plagues, in which the firstborn of Egypt were killed. The colophon on folio 39 recto indicates that this Haggadah was copied by scribe Abraham ben Moses Landau. The style of illumination indicates that the manuscript was produced in Bavaria around the end of the 15th century. The paintings, by talented anonymous artists, depict characters in traditional clothing and showcase the richness of the Jewish culture in South Germany in the Middle Ages.

Last updated: April 23, 2015