Pesach Haggadah

Pesach Haggadah

The Haggadah (pl. Haggadot) is the manual of the Seder night held on the first two evenings of Pesach, when Jews remember the Exodus from Egypt. In order to convey the story it was once customary to use translations and visual explanations. The scene of an ancient Seder night, when the Sages of Bnei Brak – Rabbi Eliezer, Joshua, Elazar ben Azaryah, Akiva and Tarfon – spent the whole night discussing the Exodus, is frequently illustrated in Haggadot. Haggadah illustrations commonly depict a contemporary Seder night, with the Talmudic Sages replaced by recent rabbis. The Singer Haggadah portrays the five Sages of Bnei Brak, but with the Sofer lineage: (l-r) Akiva Eger, the father-in-law of Moses Schreiber, the Chatam Sofer sitting next to him, Ketav Sofer and Shevet Sofer. Through the arches the imagined Bnei Brak is seen illuminated by sunbeams. The picture is a mix of prevalent and well-known portraits and landscape elements already used in postcards and other ephemera. The iconic imagery of rabbis appeared in lithographs and prints, and became extremely popular in home decoration or for other – sometimes superstitious – purposes. The entire Haggadah contains 12 picture plates, which do not conform to a single visual program: their style and typography are different, and they were probably chosen from many other prints. The publisher symbolizes Central European Jewish culture: it was founded in Bratislava to print the “Chatam Sofer”, and later became a leading firm printing Jewish books in Vienna and Pest. After the Anschluss of Austria it moved to Tel Aviv, where “Schlesinger” was Hebraized to Sinai Publishing. [ZT]

Translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr. Leo Singer
Published by Josef Schlesinger, 2nd edition, Budapest 1928/1929
Height: 30.5 cm, width: 23 cm
ŽM-D 1605 XVIII-26

YERUSHALMI, Yosef Hayim: Haggadah and History. A Panorama in Facsimile of Five Centuries of the Printed Haggadah from the Collections of Harvard University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Philadelphia 1975.

COHEN, Richard I.: Jewish Icons. Art and Society in Modern Europe. Berkeley 1998.