Page 47 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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il n a y
— I
llu strat ion s
Forefathers and Prophets
, and contributed new illustrations of
his own fancy. Professor Cecil Roth published this interesting
manuscript in 1929, together with its pictures, both in Hebrew
and in English translation. The original is preserved in his home
in Oxford, England. The illustrations in this work represent
mainly the holy places in Eretz-Israel: the synagogue of the
Rambam in Jerusalem, the city of Jericho surrounded by seven
walls, a view of Gaza, the holy tombs in Tiberias, and others
(fig• 2).
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, a leaflet entitled
Epistle Telling the Lineage of the Righteous of the Land
was published in Venice, Italy. Printed in 1626, it carried
a full description of the holy tombs in Palestine. This pamphlet
apparently met with great success in Jewish quarters, for it en-
joyed many reprintings in subsequent years. Ya’acov Babani, a
Sephardi rabbi of Safed, included this text in his book
(Memorial of Jerusalem), which appeared in
Amsterdam in 1759. The publisher wished to enhance the work
with pictures of the places described, but possessing none, he
added various decorations, circles and lines in bizarre and, in
some cases, absurd representations of the holy places. A picture
of the Wailing Wall appeared for the first time, with the inscrip-
tions above the tiers of stone: “This is the shape of the Western
Wall” and God’s words to King Solomon, “Mine eyes and My
heart shall be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9. 3).
Another book, printed about 1655, was written in Yiddish and
given a Hebrew title from Isaiah (35. 10), “And the ransomed
of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion.” It
carries on its front page a picture of the Holy City with the
Hebrew rubric, “The Holy Temple and Jerusalem.” This draw-
ing which retains the original Latin explanation, was obviously
copied from a non-Jewish source. It is noteworthy that a similar
drawing, with a like explanation, appeared on the title page of
the English edition of Cranmer’s Bible in 1540.
A number of Passover Haggadahs in the Middle Ages carried
representations of the holy shrines in Eretz-Israel. The famous
Haggadah of Sarajevo (Yugoslavia), about the fourteenth cen-
tury, presents an imaginary drawing of Mt. Sinai and the revela-
tion of the Torah, of the transfer of Jacob’s bones from Egypt to
Hebron for burial in the Cave of Machpelah, and of Lot’s wife
being transformed into a block of salt at Sodom (fig. 3). A
Haggadah of the fifteenth century, which belonged to Baron E.
de Rothschild and is now in the Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem,
includes among its beautiful illustrations a picture of Sodom on
which the Angel of God is hurling sulphur and fire. It is interest-
ing to note that this picture of Sodom resembles a medieval
Italian town.
A Haggadah of the year 1629 depicts Jerusalem with the
Messiah approaching on a donkey, preceded by Elijah blowing