Fol. 8v: In the lower outer margin of the page, a rectangular magenta frame encloses a bearded man standing outdoors. He is raising hands with curled fingers illustrating the benediction of the separation between the sacred (Saturday) and profane (weekdays) recited during the ceremony of the Havdalah when the seder falls on a Saturday night. His curled fingers illustrate the custom of looking at the reflection of light on the fingernails while reciting "blessed … who creates the light of fire" (ברוך... בורא מאורי האש).
The man has a tall green cap and wears a red robe with yellow seams and a gold belt. Acanthus branches issue from the upper and lower borders of the panel.
See: General Document for acanthus branches and Appendix
A | Acanthus scroll
Fig. 1: Havdalah
Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 200, fol. 8v
Fig. 2: Havdalah
Jerusalem, IM MS 180/50, fol. 5
(Narkiss and Sed-Rajna IJA 1978/3(
Fig. 3: Havdalah
Siddur of the Rabbi of Ruzhin
Southeast Germany, c.1460
Jerusalem, IM MS 180/53, fol. 154v
(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)
Fig. 4: Havdalah
Barcelona, mid-14th century
London, BL Add. 14761, fol. 26
(Schonfield, facsimile 1992)
The custom looking at the reflection of the firelight on the finger nails (fig. 1) is mentioned in many Ashkenazi halakhic sources (Finesinger 1937/38, pp. 347-365). The depiction of this custom in Ashkenazi haggadot follows a common iconography, emphasising the gaze at the finger nails (figs. 2, 3). In Sephardi haggadot, such as the Barcelona Haggadah, the havdalah is illustrated by a man stretching his right hand out towards a candle held by a child (fig. 4).
However, unlike the Yahudah andBarcelonahagaddot, which display other iconographical elements of the ritual: the cup of wine and the source of light over which the blessing is made, either a lighted candelabrum (fig. 2) or a havdalah candle (fig. 4) our haggadah as well as the Ruzhin Siddur (figs. 1, 3) exclude the source of light altogether. Furthermore, the man in our haggadah is gazing probably at the unseen moon rather than at his fingers.