Leipnik Haggadah

This manuscript was acquired by Enriqueta Rylands as part of the Spencer Collection. It is one of a series of Passover service books (Haggadot) created by the scribe and artist Joseph ben David of Leipnik (in Moravia) in the 1740s. He mimicked Hebrew print of the period, and usually provided illustrations himself. In this case, however, some illustrations are by another artist, who was English. We know this because the Ten Commandments on the Two Tables of the Law, are in English (folio 37a)! The manuscript may have been commissioned by a member of the English aristocracy.  


Passover Haggadah

Altona, near Hamburg (today Germany), around 1740
Hebrew MS 39
Folio 37a from the Rylands Leipnik Haggadah
Folio 36b from the Rylands Leipnik Haggadah

Folios 36b-37a

The Two Tables of the Law (upper left image, folio 37a), illustrating the poem Dayyenu with the beginning of each Commandment in English. Painted by the English artist.

The order of the Seder in 12 scenes, with instructions in Yiddish and Ladino. These images were painted by Joseph Leipnik.

Crop from folio 40b from the Rylands Leipnik Haggadah, showing the colophon of the scribe Joseph ben David of Leipnik in Moravia.

Colophon of the scribe Joseph ben David of Leipnik in Moravia. He gives the date in the form of a chronogram as 470 according to the small count (= 1710 CE). In the view of Joseph ben David's activities, this early date is very unlikely. The correct date should be around 1740. If we read the chronogram in a different way, and take the numerical value of the fourth letter in the first word instead of that of the third letter, we would get 500 according to the small count, that is, 1740 CE. 

“By the hands of the craftsman who is occupied with this work, and with what is holy work, the insignificant Joseph, son of David, of blessed memory, of the Holy Community of Leipnik in Moravia … now in the Holy Community of Altona near the Holy Community of the capital Hamburg, "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread” [chronogram] according to the small count.” 

על ידי הפועל העוסק במלאכה זה ובאשר מלאכת הקודש הקטן יוסף בהרר דוד ז"ל מק"ק לייפניק ממדינו מעהררין חונה ע"ט בק"ק אלטונויא סמוך לק"ק המבורג הבירה שבעת י'מי'ם תאכ'ל'ו מצות' לפ"ק