Tomorrow evening we will start one of the most important Jewish Holly daysThe Passover.
After the prayer at the Synagogue, in each Jewish family and community a Seder Dinner will be hold, following the story of Exodus from a text book – The Haggadah.
The history of the text compilation and the form presentation of Haggadah is very old and fascinating.

The earliest Haggadot that were composed, was quite similar to current form of today Haggadot.
The first to compose a text that was accepted throughout all Jewish communities was Rabbi Amram Gaon (died 875), who was head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura in the 9th century. Approximately sixty years later, his successor, Rabbi Saadia Gaon (892 – 942), composed as part of The Siddur, a Haggadah with some changes and emendations and this is the oldest extant version of a Haggadah. There is no known manuscript of the entire text.

A near complete manuscript of Rabbi Saadia Gaon Haggadah and the second oldest ( but first completely preserved text) of the HaggadahThe Machzor Vitry (the world wide accepted form of a Haggadah today), are found in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. (Neub. Cat. 1095).

The first separate Haggadah fragments that exist are found in the Cairo Genizah. The first complete separate Haggadot that have been preserved are from the 13th – 14th century. There are three categories to these works, Sephardi editions, Ashkenazi and Italian.
The Spehardic Haggadot contains, in addition to the actual text, miniatures depicting Biblical images that are not necessarily directly connected to the Haggadah text.

The most important manuscripts in this category are the Kauffmann Haggadah (Spain 14th century), the Sarajevo Haggadah (Barcelona, 14th century) and the Golden Haggadah (Spain, 1320).

The Kauffman Haggadah

  The Kauffmann Haggadah (Spain 14th century), Facsimile 14th Century Spain.    Hungarian Academy of Sciences

  One of the finest examples of the illuminated Haggadah, the Kaufmann Haggadah is composed of 2 parts: 14 full page miniatures, and a decorated text. 


The Barcelona HaggadahThe Barcelona Haggadah is recognised as one of the finest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts in the collections of London’s British Library.

It dates from the middle of the fourteenth century, and is named after the heraldic shield it bears, which resembles the arms of Barcelona, home to a   flourishing Jewish community and a centre of manuscript illumination, linked to the court and influenced by Italian and French styles.

The Sarejevo Hagadah- Barcelona 1350

The Sarajevo Haggadah is one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, originating in Barcelona around 1350. The Sarajevo Haggadah is handwritten on bleached calfskin and illuminated in copper and gold.
Historians believe that it was taken out of Spain by Spanish Jews who were expelled by the Alhambra Decree in 1492. Notes in the margins of the Haggadah indicate that it surfaced in Italy in the 16th century. It was sold to the National Museum in Sarajevo in 1894 by a man named Joseph Kohen.
This Haggadah was almost destroyed during the bombardment of Sarajevo in 1994, but was miraculously saved by two devoted staff members of the demolished museum where it was housed.
The Haggadah it is on permanent display at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

The Golden HaggadahThe Golden Haggadah was probably made near Barcelona in about 1320.

The text of the manuscript is written in a square Sephardi script. Medieval Sephardi scribes used a fine reed pen called a calamus, which produced harmonious and regular letters. The text is preceded by a series of full-page miniatures depicting scenes mainly from the Book of Exodus. These sumptuous illuminations set against gold-tooled backgrounds earned the manuscript its name and were executed by two artists in the northern French Gothic style.

pages1and 2 of Golden HaggadahThis title page was added in Carpi, Italy, in 1602 by the first known owner of the manuscript, Joav Gallico of Asti, who gave it to his son-in-law as a wedding gift.

The Golden Haggadah was probably taken to Italy by Jews fleeing Spain shortly after 1492. It remained in Italy until acquired by the British Museum in 1865 as part of the collection of Giuseppe Almanzi.