The present haggadah is one of Herlingen's finest efforts. His consummate skill is evidenced equally in the superbly written letters of the text and commentaries, the charmingly executed, inhabited initials and decorated initial word panels, and in the finely drawn illustrations, which Herlingen modeled after the highly popular copperplate engravings found in the Amsterdam haggadah of 1695. The decorative elements within this manuscript consist of an elaborate decorated title page, three ornamented initial word panels (fols 3v, 18r, 20r), and 60 text illustration; 50 illustrations executed in grisaille with modeling achieved through subtle gray washes,and a further 10 illustrations painted in color. Additionally, Herlingen makes use of delicate and playful inhabited letters to highlight an important passage of the text (fol. 22r).
The highly detailed manuscript map appended to this haggadah is the original creation of Herlingen, created specifically for this volume in 1730, as can be seen from the explanatory text located at the upper left side of the map. This unique text offers us an exceptional and unparalleled glimpse into the creative process of the foremost scribe/artist of the 18th century. Herlingen states that he traveled to Pressburg and produced the map there in consultation with Rabbi Abraham Fleckeles, who like Herlingen, was aware of the many geographical and cartographic deficiencies in the 1695 printed map of the Amsterdam haggadah, which had been drawn by Abraham bar Jacob, and was in turn, based on an earlier map by the 16th-century cartographer Christian van Adrichom. According to Herlingen, his map delineates more accurately the route of the Exodus and correctly depicts the portions of the Twelve Tribes in the Land of Israel. Below the explanatory text is a list of the 42 stations visited by the Children of Israel during their 40-year peregrination in the desert. The current work precedes, by more than six decades, the only other known example of an eighteenth century manuscript haggadah with an appended map
Folio 1r: Text set within an architectural framework ; flanking the text, at left, Moses supporting the Tablets of the Law with one hand and the matteh (Moses' staff) in the other; at right, Aaron, garbed as High Priest, holds a censer. Above them, the Clouds of Glory, surmounted by two cherubs supporting a blank cartouche (presumably meant for an owner's inscription). Set within another cartouche, below the text, a vignette, captioned: "In the merit of the righteous women, the Israelites were delivered from Egypt" (Sotah 11b). According to rabbinic lore, despite the grueling conditions of slavery and Pharaoh’s decree that all male children be killed, the Israelite women persevered to maintain Jewish continuity. When they went to draw water, small fish would enter their pitchers (seen at left). The women cooked the fish and brought the meal to their husbands, toiling in the fields, and seduced them into engaging in marital relations. When the time for childbirth arrived, the women again went out to the fields and delivered beneath the apple trees (seen at center). After the children were born, God provided sustenance for the infants (seen at right).
Folio 1v: Three illustrations of a family performing the first three elements of the Seder ritual: Kadesh (sanctification of the wine), Urhatz (washing of the hands) Karpas (vegetable dipped into salt water)
Folio 2r: Final nine illustrations of the order of the Seder ritual: Yahatz (splitting the matzah)—Maggid (recitation of the haggadah)—Rahtzah (second washing of the hands)—Motzee-Matzah (blessings over the matzah)—Maror (bitter herbs)—Korekh (matzah with bitter herbs)—Shulhan Oreikh (the Passover Meal)—Zafun-Bareikh (afikomen and Grace after the Meal)—Hallel-Nirzah (concluding psalms and songs).
Folio 3v: Ornamented initial word panel set within a cartouche supported by two winged horses
Folio 5r: The Sages at Benei Brak
Folio 6r: The Four Sons
Folio 7r: Abraham destroying the idols
Folio 8r: The angels visiting Abraham and Sarah
Folio 9r: Moses leading the Exodus from Egypt
Folio 10r: Moses slaying the Egyptian—Israelites building the cities of Pithom and Ramses
Folio 11r: Pharaoh's daughter rescuing Moses from the Nile
Folio 11v: Moses and Aaron performing miracles before Pharaoh
Folio 12v: The first through fifth plagues: blood, frogs, lice, beasts, murrain (5 color illustrations)
Folio 13r: The sixth through tenth plagues: boils, hail, locusts, darkness, slaying of the firstborn (5 color illustrations)
Folio 14r: The Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea as the Israelites watch from the shore
Folio 15v: The Israelites at Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments
Folio 16v: Decorative initial words: Pesah, Matzah, Maror
Folio 18r: An entire paragraph executed in hatched letters
Folio 19r: A distinctly imaginative initial word panel for Grace after Meals. The letters of the initial word Barukh are individually framed and inhabited by figures of birds and animals executed in extremely fine penwork against a background of scrolling vines and in the case of the final letter, a diminutive cityscape; the menagerie includes a stag, a hare, a sheep, a lion, an eagle, a bear, a stork and a rather charming, cello-playing monkey.
Folio 21r: The initial word Shefokh, set within a panel which includes two putti bearing shields inscribed with the four expressions (ve-hozeiti, vehizalti, ve-goalti, ve-lakachti) used in the book of Exodus (6:6-7) to describe God’s beneficence to the Children of Israel. Here too Herlingen demonstrates his artistic skills, using trompe l’oeil technique to extend the legs of the putti beyond the frame.
Folio 22r: In a scribal tour de force, Herlingen has penned four verses of the Hodu text (Psalms 118:1-4), in extraordinary miniature inhabited letters. One letter even includes a minuscule rendition of Adam and Eve being tempted by the Serpent. This decorative style of lettering was popular in medieval Hebrew manuscripts.
Folio 29r: The Third Temple within the walls of a rebuilt Jerusalem, in the messianic era; also, an illustration for the first verse of ehad mi yode’a (Who Knows One)
Folio 29v: Illustrations for verses 2-5 of ehad mi yode’a
Folio 30r: Illustrations for verses 6-8 of ehad mi yode’a
Folio 30v: Illustrations for verses 9-12 of ehad mi yode’a
Folio 31r: Illuutration for the final (13th) verse of ehad mi yode’a ; illustrations for verses 1-4 of had gadya (An Only Kid)
Folio 31v: Illustrations for verses 5-9 of had gadya.
Folio 32r: Illustration for the final (10th) verse of had gadya
Folio 33r: An elaborately penned map of the Land of Israel, executed in back, brown and red ink, with highlights colored in yellow, red and green gouache.
This exquisite manuscript was, for over a century (1781-1883), passed down as a family heirloom in the hands of the illustrious Banet family of Moravian rabbis and scholars. The register of births and deaths inscribed on the flyleaf of the manuscript includes a particularly poignant pair of entries which mark the birth of a young man, Koppel Banet, in 1809, and seven decades later, record his death in 1879, underscoring the multigenerational nature of this register. These kinds of important family data were traditionally recorded in the most important volume in a family’s possession; the one most likely to be saved and preserved as one generation made way for the next.
Vivian B. Mann and Richard Cohen (eds.), "Melding Worlds: Court Jews and the Arts of the Baroque," in From Court Jew to the Rothschilds, Art Patronage and Power 1600-1800, Munich and New York: 1996, pp. 112-119; catalog entries: 88, 89, 93, 95, 100, 101, 103, pp. 170-76.
Ernest Namenyi, "The Illumination of Hebrew Manuscripts after the Invention of Printing", in C. Roth (ed.) Jewish Art: An Illustrated History, London: 1971, pp. 158-159.
Haviva Peled-Carmeli, Illustrated Haggadot of the Eighteenth Century, Jerusalem: 1983, pp. 30-31.
Abraham Naftali Zvi Roth, "Ha-Zayar ha-Amami Aharon Schreiber Herlingen," Yeda Am, vol. 5: 1958, pp.73-79.
Sabar, Shalom. "Herlingen, Aaron Wolff (Schreiber) of Gewitsch." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Vol. 9. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.
Shalom Sabar, "Seder Birkat ha-Mazon-Vienna, 1719/20: The Earliest Known Illuminated Hebrew Manuscript by Aaron Wolf Schreiber of Gewitsch" [Hebrew], in Shmuel Glick, ed) Zekher Devar le-'Avdekha, Bar Ilan: 2007.
Menahem Schmelzer, "Decorated Hebrew Manuscripts of the Eighteenth Century in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America'', in R. Dan (ed.) Occident and Orient: A Tribute to the Memory of Alexander Scheiber, Budapest and Leiden: 1988, pp. 331-351.
Ursula Schubert, ]udische Buchkunst, vol. 2, Graz: 1992, pp. 87-90. (Translated into Hebrew as Amanut ha-Sefer ha-Yehudit, Tel-Aviv: 1995, pp. 56-59.
Emile Schrijver, “Herlingen Haggadah,” in (Cohen, Liberman Mintz and Schrijver, eds.) A Journey Through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books # 284, p. 116.
____________, “Septem Psalmi Poenitentiales, & Ps. 138” in (Cohen, Liberman Mintz and Schrijver, eds.) A Journey Through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books # 316, p. 134.
1. A register on the fly-leaves lists, in Hebrew, births and deaths in the illustrious Banet family of Moravian rabbis and scholars. The dates span the years 1781 to 1883.
2. Abraham S. Warburg (1864-1933)
3. Karl (Charles) S. Warburg (1907–1972)
4. Christie's, 18 March 1964, lot 147
5. Ralph and Phyllis Yablon
6. Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 3 November 1988, lot 3
7. Sothebys NY, Magnificent Judaica…, 12 December 2000, lot 125
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