Prayers for the small pleasures: a small, gorgeous insight into the life of a Jewish woman

Meah Berachot

Central Europe — 18th century

Meah Berachot

Meah Berachot

Central Europe — 18th century

  1. A luxurious example of a Jewish prayer book was presumably made in the 18th century as a gift for a lady

  2. The small book measuring 4 x 3.6 cm contains 100 prayers meant to be spoken at particular times of day

  3. Sayings and prayers were included for curious experiences, e.g. glimpsing a beautiful tree or baking bread

Meah Berachot (Vellum Edition)

Meah Berachot

Evening Prayer

This 18th century Hebrew manuscript was designed for everyday use, which is evident by the fact that it is small enough to fit in one’s pocket, but also because it has prayers suitable for everyday activities from dawn till dusk. An elderly man is shown reclining before bedtime with a sleeping cap on and reading a prayer. His room is well appointed with a large bed, flowing orange curtains, and a green cloth covering a round table with a pitcher and other domestic items.

Meah Berachot

Alternative Titles:
  • Me’ah Berakhot
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
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Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

A luxurious example of a Jewish prayer book: this wonderful Meah Berachot was presumably made in the 18th century as a precious gift for a lady in the old art of illumination. As already indicated in the title, the small book measuring 4 x 3.6 cm contains 100 prayers. These were meant to be spoken daily by observant Jews at particular times of day and set occasions – before a meal or going to bed, during thunderstorms or in ritual bathing. In this manuscript, the 100 prayers are illustrated with magnificent miniatures, which offer a glimpse into everyday Jewish life at that time. A gorgeous gem of Jewish culture!

Meah Berachot

A Luxurious example of a Jewish prayer book: this wonderful Meah Berachot was presumably made in the 18th century as a precious gift for a lady in the old art of illumination. As already indicated in the title, the small book measuring 4 x 3.6 cm contains 100 prayers. These were meant to be spoken daily by observant Jews at particular times of day and set occasions – before a meal or going to bed, during thunderstorms or in ritual bathing. In this manuscript, the 100 prayers are illustrated with magnificent miniatures, which offer a glimpse into everyday Jewish life at that time. A gorgeous gem of Jewish culture!

Scenes from Everyday Jewish Life

A gorgeous title page introduces the small Hebrew prayer book: the miniature is divided into three registers with marvelously figurative depictions around the book’s title at the center of the composition. Alongside this image page, there are 29 miniature strips adorning the 70 pages of the book. These miniatures illustrate some of the activities and events that are named in the prayers and blessings. In doing so, Jewish daily life is recorded in wonderful depictions, e.g. the lighting of the Sabbath candles, family meals, or other typical events for that time such as the medical practice of bloodletting.

Blessings and Prayers for Every Occasion

This precious Hebrew prayer book contains, as betrayed by the Hebrew title Meah Berachot, 100 prayers. Observant Jews should say a minimum of 100 prayers and blessings daily at various times of day and on particular occasions. Thus one finds **prayers for the morning, prayers to be spoken before meals and going to bed, or entreaties for God’s blessing during travel. Alongside these everyday activities, sayings and prayers were also listed for curious experiences such as when glimpsing a beautiful tree, upon first wearing new clothes, while in a thunderstorm, while baking bread, or in a ritual bath.

A Precious 18th Century Manuscript

This Meah Berachot manuscript originated from central Europe in the 18th century. It is a luxurious specimen. The prayer book was created in a return to the medieval art of illumination. It was probably intended as a gift for a lady, perhaps even for a bride, but is appropriate for Jewish bibliophiles every age and gender! Bound in dark red leather with golden ornamentation and artful silver fittings, the manuscript gives an inside view of Jewish culture at that time.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Me’ah Berakhot
Size / Format
70 pages / 4.0 x 3.6 cm
Date
18th century
Style
Hebrew
Language
Illustrations
Illuminated title-page and 29 miniature panels
Meah Berachot (Vellum Edition)

Meah Berachot

Title Page

Although originating from the 18th century, this tiny manuscript was made in the traditional manner, including its 29 miniatures. A full-page miniature introduces the text, which is divided into three registers with five female figures. The title of the work is presented on a round medallion outlined in red and mounted on a twisted blue column, around which the five figures are arranged.

The women are dressed in flowing robes of red and blue amidst a pastoral landscape flanked by trees. One woman on the left sits next to a classical amphora, while others play instruments, e.g. the woman at the top is playing some kind of flute. One can see the sun in the background, as well as some buildings, a deer, and a cat.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Meah Berachot“

Meah Berachot (Vellum Edition)
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
Meah Berachot – Private Collection
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Meah Berachot (Vellum Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 1994
Limited Edition
400 copies
Binding
Morocco leather tooled in 23-carat gold and adorned with solid silver clasps, corner-plates and bosses made in one of the last silversmith's ateliers in Milan, Italy. The presentation case is crafted in full leather, lined in suede, and holds both the facsimile and the commentary volume.
Commentary
1 volume (74 pages) by Iris Fishof and Jeremy Schonfield
More Information
Printed on fine vellum
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Meah Berachot (Parchment Paper Edition)
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Meah Berachot (Parchment Paper Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 1994
Limited Edition
150 copies
Binding
Morocco leather tooled in 23-carat gold and adorned with solid silver clasps, corner-plates and bosses made in one of the last silversmith's ateliers in Milan, Italy. The presentation case is crafted in full leather, lined in suede, and holds both the facsimile and the commentary volume.
Commentary
1 volume (74 pages) by Iris Fishof and Jeremy Schonfield
Language: English
More Information
Printed on specially milled parchment
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