The Floersheim Haggadah

The Floersheim Haggadah – Lichtdruck – Private Collection

Germany — 1501–1502

An intimate glimpse into the life of German Jews circa 1500: miniatures of Gothic architecture and period dress in a magnificently appointed Haggadah

  1. Those celebrating the Passover Seder are guided by and read aloud from the Haggadah

  2. The text of this Haggadah manuscript is framed by splendid miniatures on every page

  3. Secular activities like farming and construction are also depicted in great detail

The Floersheim Haggadah

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
The Floersheim Haggadah

The purpose of the Passover Seder is to relate and pass down the story of Exodus, the liberation from Egyptian bondage and deliverance into the Promised Land, to the next generation. Biblical verses, Psalms, hymns, and traditions thereof are contained in and read from a Haggadah. This late-Gothic specimen from Germany was created ca. 1502 and virtually every page is adorned with miniatures illustrating the text as well as depicting daily life for German Jews during the period. The Floersheim Haggadah presents the celebratory meal in wonderful miniatures featuring contemporary clothing and Gothic architecture.

The Floersheim Haggadah

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast, the most widely celebrated by Jews around the world, requiring the use of a Haggadah – a Jewish text that guides participants through the meal and from which they read out loud. This is one of the finest Haggadot to survive from the Middle Ages due to its rich illumination. The margins of virtually every page of text are filled with late-Gothic miniatures that both illustrate the text concerning the celebratory Passover feast of Seder and show scenes from everyday life including farming and construction. As such, it is a wonderful inside view of the lives of German Jews ca. 1502 when the manuscript was completed.

The Passover Tradition

Passover commemorates the liberation of the people of Israel from servitude in Egypt and the Exodus to the Promised Land, the main intention being to pass on this message of liberation from one generation to the next, as "every person in whatever period they live has the obligation to consider themselves as being part of the great exodus from Egypt". The prospect of final deliverance is drawn from a messianic perspective. Passover begins on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, i.e. on the first full moon in spring, and lasts for eight days. At night, every family has their Passover lamb and unleavened bread (matzah), bitter herbs, and wine. Over the years, a fixed order (Seder) was established for this religious meal, according to which the liturgy was held. The basic form of this order is about a thousand years old. It comprises biblical verses, hymns and Psalms, and records of religious customs and is read by the head of the family on the first and second evenings of Passover.


Alternative Titles
Die Floersheim Haggadah
Seder Hagadah shel Pesḁh
Size / Format
36 pages / 26.5 × 18.5 cm
Previous Owners
Ashel and Yehuda
Rafael ben Yehuda Matzliah
David Solomon Sassoon

Available facsimile editions:
The Floersheim Haggadah – Lichtdruck – Private Collection
Lichtdruck – Zurich, 1985
Limited Edition: 936 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 The Floersheim Haggadah

Lichtdruck – Zurich, 1985

Publisher: Lichtdruck – Zurich, 1985
Limited Edition: 936 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Iris Fishof, Meir Hovav, and Lenn J. Schramm (translation)
Languages: English, Hebrew
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Partial reproduction of the original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The pages are represented on a larger white background. The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
You might also be interested in:
Budapest Esther Scroll – Helikon – MS Kaufmann A 14 – Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest, Hungary)
Budapest Esther Scroll
Italy – 17th century

Presented as a scroll in the splendor of Renaissance illumination: how Queen Esther saved the Jews from certain annihilation at the hands of the schemer Haman

Experience More
Birds' Head Haggadah – Tarshish Books – B46.04.0912 / 180/057 – Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel)
Birds' Head Haggadah
Upper Rhine area, probably Mainz (Germany) – Ca. 1300

People with alienating bird heads at the Seder meal: a creatively constructive approach to the biblical prohibition of images in the oldest surviving Ashkenazi Haggadah

Experience More
Golden Haggadah – Eugrammia Press – Add. Ms 27210 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Golden Haggadah
Barcelona (Spain) – Second quarter of the 14th century

Tales of the Exodus from Egypt and instructions for the Seder on the eve of Passover: one of the earliest Spanish Haggadot, decorated with 56 miniatures on a shimmering gold leaf background

Experience More
Sarajevo Haggadah – Sarajevo Svjetlost – Zemaljski Muzej Bosne i Hercegovine (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Sarajevo Haggadah
Kingdom of Aragon, probably Barcelona (Spain) – Around 1350

In use for centuries, hidden from the Nazis and today a UNESCO Memory of the World Document: one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadot in the world, preciously illuminated with 69 copper and gold decorated miniatures

Experience More
Darmstadt Pessach Haggadah - Codex Orientalis 8 – Propyläen Verlag – Cod. Or. 8 – Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt (Darmstadt, Germany)
Darmstadt Pessach Haggadah - Codex Orientalis 8
Heidelberg (Germany) – ca. 1430

Scenes from the Passover Seder, but also naked men and women bathing or the non-kosher killing of animals as sport: an Ashkenazic Haggadah richly illuminated with gold that is extraordinary in many respects

Experience More
Washington Haggadah – Library of Congress – MS Hebr. 181 – Library of Congress (Washington, USA)
Washington Haggadah
Germany – January 29, 1478

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection