National Library of Israel makes rare editions of the Haggadah available for download ahead of Passover

A detail of a 1556 printed copy of the Haggadah published in Prague – one of only two surviving copies. Photo: National Library of Israel

In anticipation of the upcoming Passover holiday, the National Library of Israel is making some of the world’s most admired, rare and valuable editions of the Haggadah available for download online.

The National Library, located in Jerusalem, holds over 15,000 copies of the Haggadah from different periods and Jewish communities and faiths.

The Haggadot made available for download are diverse and often highly reputable.

One of them is the so-called “Rothschild Haggadah”, dating from the 1400s. It was created in Italy and illustrated by the famous artist Yoel Ben Shimon. Owned by the Rothschild family for a time, it was stolen by Nazi forces during the Holocaust. While its location was unknown for decades, it was eventually returned to its rightful owners, who donated it to the National Library.

Another example is the “Prague Haggadah”, which dates from 1556 and is one of the earliest examples of a printed version of the text. Only two copies have survived.

Other versions include the 1738 “Amsterdam Haggadah”, famous for its illustrations; and a Haggadah in Yiddish translation from the 1700s.

“The National Library of Israel works tirelessly to ensure that our extensive collection comes out of the ivory tower and is accessible to the public,” commented Dr. Yoel Finkelman, Curator of the Haim and Salomon Judaica Collection. “By making these Haggadot freely available for use at anyone’s seder, the NLI fulfills its mission as the Library of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Comments are closed.