Probably the most sumptuous of all illuminated haggadot,
with a new translation of the main and marginal texts and four groups of piyyutim

Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Rothschild Haggadah

Probably the most sumptuous of all illuminated haggadot, with a new translation of the main and marginal texts and four groups of piyyutim.

A strictly limited edition of 550 copies with a scholarly translation of the entire text.

Price: £0.00

purchase »

Written in northern Italy in 1479, this Haggadah is one of the most exquisite sections of the Israel Museum's Rothschild Miscellany, a manuscript unrivalled in richness and scope.

Medieval haggadot are among the most extensively decorated of all types of Hebrew manuscript, but the Rothschild Haggadah is exceptional for its elegant and elaborate illustrations of the Passover story. The original owner, Moses ben Yekutiel Hakohen, must have been a prosperous man who commissioned a manuscript to reflect his sophisticated and learned background, because the manuscript is remarkable not only for the fine quality of its illumination but for the richness of its marginal texts.

This copiously illuminated and illustrated Haggadah comprises the Ashkenazi Passover-eve service as we know it today (except for Grace after Meals which was deliberately omitted by the scribe) as the main text in the centre of the page. In the margins is Maimonides' Hilkhot Hamez Umatsah, 'Laws Concerning Leavened and Unleavened Bread' a classical survey of Passover and its ceremonies. In addition, the exquisitely illuminated section devoted to the piyyutim (liturgical poems and songs) for all four evenings of the festival of Passover has been included, in the margins of which is a medieval text on weights and measures.


The texts of the Haggadah and of the piyyutim have been translated by Professor Raphael Loewe (Goldsmid Professor of Hebrew Emeritus, University College London) and Jeremy Schonfield (Mason Lecturer, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies). Two of the sequences of piyyutim translated by Professor Loewe into English verse have never been made available in English before. Jeremy Schonfield has written an informative introduction to the texts in the manuscript and to the themes of Passover. Professor Loewe has also written a summary of the marginal texts on numismatics, weights and measures and Maimonides laws concerning Passover. Iris Fishof, formerly Chief Curator of Judaica & Jewish Ethnography at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem has provided a foreword in which she gives the background to the acquisition of this manuscript, one of the Israel Museum's greatest treasures and Joseph Falter wrote the Preface.

  • 44 pages
  • Size: 210mm x 156mm approximately.
  • All pages are illuminated with raised burnished gold, flat gold, powdered gold and brilliant, delicate colours.
  • David Harris, the renowned Israeli photographer, photographed the manuscript at the Israel museum in Jerusalem using large-format Ektachrome film in order to capture the finest details.
  • In order to completely eliminate any curvature close to the spine the manuscript was disbound prior to photography so that it could be photographed flat.
  • Specially manufactured glass which is both ‘optically flat’ and ‘optically white’ was used to hold the manuscript flat during photography. The printed page is, therefore, exactly the same size as the original.
  • A special 160gsm, uncoated, neutral pH paper was milled to reproduce exactly the texture, opacity and thickness of the vellum (uterine) on which the manuscript was written.
  • Gold foil leaf has been applied to a raised surface on each page using a special hand process that closely replicates the burnished gold of the original.
  • Powdered gold was applied to all the illustrations that contain it in the original manuscript.
  • The facsimile is bound in fine white vellum.
  • The commentary volume is printed on a classical Ingres laid paper, elegantly bound to complement the facsimile.
  • Both volumes are presented in a hand-made slip-case.
  • Strictly limited to 400 numbered and 150 ad personam copies.
  • Each volume is discreetly numbered by hand using steel dies and is accompanied by a numbered certificate carrying the seal of the Israel Museum.
  • The facsimile and commentary volume are boxed in an elegant slipcase.
Gift Certificates
  • Each facsimile can be personally dedicated at no extra charge. Whether the facsimile is intended as a gift to an institution or a private individual, our calligrapher can inscribe a beautiful illuminated gift certificate with an appropriate inscription.
Shipping, Packaging & Insurance
  • Price includes robust protective packaging, worldwide courier delivery and insurance
  • Courier service, usually by UPS
  • International overnight service usually available at no extra charge
  • Electronic invoice and tracking details delivered to you immediately via email
Purchase The Rothschild Haggadah is priced at £0.00. purchase »