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© Bayerische Staatsbibliothek , Photographer: Unknown, 2008

Vol. I, fol. 29v: The initial word Vayishlach (וישלח, And Jacob sent) of this parashah (Gen. 32:4-36:43) is written at the top of the illustrated panel in gold leaf on a deep blue ground, at the beginning of the third text column, below the explicit (חסלת ויצא יעקב) and its haftarah (ומפטרין בתרי עשר ויברח יעקב שדה ארם).

The panel depicts Jacob meeting Esau (Gen. 33:1-3) on a green ground, illustrating the commentary (I:29v). Next to a magenta tree on the right, Esau appears as a suppliant in front of Jacob, who is stretching out his right hand towards him. Behind Esau is a mounted soldier in armour; behind Jacob are a woman and a youth, followed by Jacob's herd of four quadrupeds and a herdsman with a club. Jacob wears a short red tunic and blue chlamys. The woman is wearing a blue dress and a white kerchief. Esau, the herdsman and the tree are coloured magenta, and the soldier's armour is blue. The horse, two quadrupeds and the faces are uncoloured, revealing facial features.

Inscriptions in plummet in Latin by the 13th-century hand, and in a later Hebrew square script:

  • above the panel: וישלח (Vayishlach).
  • above it: Esau venie(n)s cora[m]iacob (Gen. 33:1).
Name/Title
Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible | Unknown
Object Detail
Vol. I, fol. 29v
Date
1232/33
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Site
Unknown
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod. hebr. 5/I-II (Steinschneider 1895, No. 5)
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Brown and black ink, gold leaf and blue, green, white, yellow ochre, red and magenta.
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
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Measurements
Height
Length
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Depth
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Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
40 x 53 mm.
Condition
Some grey stains on faces, hands and horse; the gold leaf of the letters and Esau's cuffs has flaked off.
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

The illustration depicts Esau, accompanied by a mounted soldier is bowing down in front of Jacob (fig. 1); whereas according to the Bible Jacob, scared of the meeting with Esau, "bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother" (Gen. 33:3). This depiction illustrates not the biblical but the commentary text (I:29v), which attributed to Jacob the following words: I [Jacob] advise you not to provoke me because despite yourself you shall not prevail against me but shall surely fall before me. The phrase "you will surely fall before me", etc. was borrowed from the Book of Esther (6:13), where the fall of Haman before Mordechai is similarly described (Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezr, ch. 50). This expression does not belong to Rashi's commentary but is apparently a somewhat later interpolation, copied, however by our scribe Shlomo (Mack 2000). The usual visual representation of the meeting of the two brothers is in keeping with scripture, for example Jacob bowing before Esau in the Anglo-Saxon Aelfric Paraphrase of the 11th century (fig. 2).

Fig. 1: Jacob and Esau meeting, Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible, Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 5, I:29v


Fig. 2: Jacob and Esau meeting, Aelfric Paraphrase, England, 11th century, London, BL Cotton Claudius B. iv, fol. 51, http://www.tali-virtualmidrash.org.il/ArtEng.aspx?art=228

The upper register shows two scenes: Esau, in front of his horse, is embracing Jacob, who in the previous scene on the left lies prostrate in front of him. The lower registers depict the mighty army on horseback which accompanied Esau. In our illustration just one mounted soldier accompanies Esau. Esau's proskynesis is comparable to the similar gesture found in the Octateuchs, e.g. 11th-century scenes of Abraham in front of God, or in front of the three angels (e.g. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat.gr. 747 fols.38v, 39; Weitzmann and Bernabò 1999, figs. 249, 257). The depiction in our manuscript, which illustrates the commentary, is probably a unique representation of the meeting between the two brothers, which differs from the biblical text.

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Negative/Photo. No.