Haggadah ~ Rare Book Exhibit

The Haggadah is a compilation of excerpts from the Bible and rabbinic literature and includes prayers and hymns. In celebration of the Exodus from Egypt, it is recited at the Seder service on the eve of Passover. The text is often accompanied by art work depicting or interpreting the Passover story and its message of freedom.

The Library's extensive collection of manuscript and printed editions from Europe, Asia, and the Americas includes the First Cincinnati Haggadah (Germany, 15th century) and the Second Cincinnati Haggadah (Moravia, 18th Century).

First Cincinnati Haggadah

This magnificently illuminated work on parchment was produced in Germany in the late 15th century by Meir Jaffe ha-sofer, a copyist, illuminator and renowned leather tooler.

The word YaKNeHaZ is an acronym comprised on the initial letters of five Hebrew words: Yayin (wine), Kiddush (santification), Ner (light), Havdalah (separation), Zeman (time). It indicates the correct sequence of blessings when the eve of Passover coincides with the conclusion of the Sabbath. The abbreviation sounds similar to the German phrase "jag den Has" (hunt the hare), and is the motivation for hare hunting scenes in illustrated haggadot.

Second Cincinnati Haggadah

This "sister to the Van Geldern Haggadah was produced by Moses Loeb Ben Wolf from Trebitsch, Moravia, in 1716-17.

The miniatures are in oil paint on parchment and are based on the engravings found in the printed Amsterdam Haggadah of 1712. It is currently on display at the Jewish Museum, New York City.