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Friday, April 03, 2015

Passover and Easter

With both Passover and Easter falling over the same weekend, here is a Rosenbach object for each. I wrote a post along the same lines back in 2012; you can check it out if you're interested in seeing the earliest printed depiction of a matzoh or a renaissance drawing of the crucifixion.

Service for the two first nights of Passover: in Hebrew and English: according to the custom of the German and Polish Jews. Carefully revised and corrected, by Isaac Levi. London: E. Justins, A.M. 5568 [i.e. 1808 C.E.].
Ro3 808h. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Unlike the prayer book with the matzoh, which was acquired by Dr. Rosenbach, this 1808 Haggadah was a Rosenbach family item.

Service for the two first nights of Passover: in Hebrew and English: according to the custom of the German and Polish Jews. Carefully revised and corrected, by Isaac Levi. London: E. Justins, A.M. 5568 [i.e. 1808 C.E.].
Ro3 808h. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Unfortunately, as former Rosenbacher Greg Giuliano wrote, "Sadly the little information we have about this wine-stained Haggadah speaks of tragedy for the Rosenbach family. Hyman Polock Rosenbach, oldest of the seven Rosenbach children, inscribed it “First used by me April 19th 1886.” His father Morris had recently died and leading the Passover seder had become the responsibility of the oldest son. Unfortunately, Hyman, an accomplished journalist, soon developed a severe drinking problem. Philip Rosenbach’s inscription below Hyman’s in the Haggadah indicates that just five years later Philip replaced his debilitated and ailing brother at the head of the seder table. Hyman died a year later in 1892."


Gradual leaf. Spanish, 1500-1550. 1954.1881. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

Turning to an Easter item, this page is a leaf from a gradual and the musical text reads "Resurrexi et adhuc tecum alleluia" (the alleluia is cut off by the page break) This is the beginning of the introit for Easter Sunday and translates as "I am risen, and I am always with you, alleluia".  You can hear the chant performed  by French Benedictine monks in this video:



Our leaf is Spanish and was produced in the first half of the 16th century. The page is quite large (30 1/2" x 21") which is not unusual, since it was intended to be sung from by a group. The historiated letter R at the upper left contains two images. In the upper scene Jesus stands on a conquered demon, holding a cross staff and extending his hands to rescue soul from hell. In the lower scene, the resurrected Christ appears to the Virgin Mary and other figures.

Gradual leaf (detail). Spanish, 1500-1550. 1954.1881. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia





Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog

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