Golden Haggadah



The haggadah is the service book used in Jewish households on Passover Eve to commemorate the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. 

Traditionally Jewish families gather together for a special dinner, called a seder meaning ‘order’. During the seder the haggadah is read, providing the structure for the meal, which is divided into 15 parts. For example, the fourth part involves the breaking of the unleavened bread, which reminds Jews of the haste with which the Hebrews left Egypt. 

This haggadah was made near Barcelona, Catalonia, in approximately 1320 AD. The text is written on vellum pages in Hebrew script, reading from right to left. The Golden Haggadah takes its name from the 56 miniature paintings at the beginning of the book that depict scenes mainly from the Book of Exodus, set against gold-tooled backgrounds. 

On each page are four miniatures. The first, in the top right-hand corner (of the right-hand page), depicts Lot and his daughters fleeing Sodom, with his wife, a pillar of salt behind them. The image in the top left depicts Abraham, about to slaughter his tightly-bound son Isaac. In the bottom right a blind Isaac is duped in blessing Jacob instead of Esau.  The bottom-left hand corner depicts Jacob’s dream: while he is asleep on the ground he sees two angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven.

Full title
Golden Haggadah
c. 1420
Held by
British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
Add. MS 27210

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