Lot 173
  • 173

Seder Haggadah le-Pesah (Services for the first two nights of the Feast of Passover), Haim Liberman {of Chicago}, ed. New York: J.H. Kantrowitz, 1879

Estimate
5,000 - 7,000 USD
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Description

93 pages (7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.; 190 x 140 mm). Hebrew and English on facing pages; with five illustrations (pp.5,18,27,29,68). Brittle with leaves strengthened at margins; dampstained at upper corner; some leaves chipped at edges; minor tear to title page repaired. Rebound in modern black half morocco over contemporary boards; rounded, defective.

Literature

Ari G.M. Kinsberg, People of Faith: Land of Promise, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary: 2004; Goldman and Kinsberg, Hebrew Printing in America, #138. This edition unknown to Yaari; Yudlov, 1530; cf. Yerushalmi, plate 115 [a later edition].

Catalogue Note

A uniquely illustrated American Passover Haggadah

The title page of this Haggadah proclaims that it is enhanced with "new illustrations in accordance with the instructions of the Talmud." Indeed, two of the illustrations clearly reflect a more elaborate midrashic reading of the events depicted rather than the simpler versions found in the biblical text. The illustration of Pharaoh's daughter retrieving the infant Moses from the bulrushes portrays her with an elongated arm in accordance with rabbinic lore.  Similarly, the illustration of the Israelites crossing through the Red Sea also depicts the traditional midrashic account that the Sea split into twelve separate channels, one for each of the tribes of Israel.

At the same time this Haggadah is quintessentially American in its depiction of what, according to Yerushalmi, is "perhaps the only illustration in which they [the Four Sons] are together at the Seder meal."  The Wise Son, wearing a kipah is shown assiduously poring over the Haggadah at his mother's side while the bareheaded Wicked Son leans back in his chair, cigarette dangling from his lips and pointing an accusatory finger at his father, the epitome of disrespect.

An identical Haggadah appeared contemporaneously bearing a Chicago imprint (Yudlov, 1535), that city being home to the editor, Reverend Haim Liberman.  In addition to editing the text, which was based on the translation of David Levi of London and appeared in the earliest printed American Haggadah in 1837, Liberman was the author of the two brief sets of halakhic instructions that appear at the front of the volume.  He is likely also the author of the Hebrew "publisher's commentary" on Had Gadya.

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