Under Reconstruction!
Object Alone

Obj. ID: 1501
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Vienna Seder Milah, Kittsee , 1758

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Unknown,
Summary and Remarks

This small Circumcision Service (Seder Brit Milah) manuscript is missing the last part of the verses recited before the ceremony, the all circumcision service and the beginning of Grace after Meals  (see: Content).

The title-page of the manuscript (fol. 1) states that it was copied in Kittsee, near Pressbourg, in [5]518=1758 and belonged to Rabbi Jacob of Lackenbach, as indicated by the scribal inscription within the lower cartouche. The patron can be identified with Jacob ben Leser of Lackenbach, mentioned in the register (pinkas) of the community of Eisenstaadt (see: Cod. hebr. 222, Kat.-Nr. ##, No. 40, f. 130v; Wachstein, 1926, 70f. No. 40-40a), one of the most important communities of Europe at that time, and the leading of the "Seven communities" (Siebengemeinde) of Burgenland, which included Mattersburg (Mattersdorf), Lackenbach, Deutschkreutz (Tzelm?), Kobersdorf, Frauenkirchen and also Kittsee (Koepcseny ???), (at that time Hungary). In the pinkas it is recorded that Jakob b. Leser was admitted to that community on March 8th, 1751.


Although the scribe does not leave his name, the palaeographic and stylistic features of the manuscript indicate a strong resemblance to the hand of Hayyim ben Asher Anshel. Known to have been active as a teacher in Kittsee since 1725 (see: Monumenta Hungaria, 1974, XVI, 108), his activity as scribe and artist is testified between 1741 till 1782, two years before his death (according to his tombstone's inscription in the Jewish cemetery of Kittsee: April 20, 1784; see: Scheiber, Kittsee, 1980, p. 44, no. 2). Till now, twenty-seven manuscripts have been attributed to him, many of them also decorated (see: ibid. for complete bibliography).


The style of the decoration in the Viennamanuscripts is characterized by sketchy-like ink drawing with very few details both for human figures and architectonic and ornamental patterns, coloured in slight grey water-colour. Part of the drawing is outlined with dotted lines in the same tonality of brown ink. The same monochromatic and sketchy style is found in other manuscripts copied by Hayyim ben Asher Anshel in the same years, such as the Grace after Meals held in the collection of Robert Marx in Hilford, USA (Fig. #), dated 1753 (Fig. in Scheiber, 1980, fig. 4). Another stylistic comparison can be made with the manuscript including Kiddush, Grace after Meals and Blessings for various occasions (Private collection; formerly Amsterdam, M. H. Gans, No. 65; see Scheiber, 1966, table III, fig. 1 u. 2), also signed by the same scribe but undated (Fig. #), especially for the birds placed within the initial word panel, on fol. 2, similar to those flanking the initial word cartouche on fol. 7v of our manuscript. Presumably our scribe-artist was autodidact and used printed patterns, as is evident from the only one richly illustrated Passover Haggadah copied in Vienna in 1748 (William L. Gross Collection, Ramat Aviv, Israel, no. 17), and for whose illustration Asher Anshel used printed patterns from the iconographic traditions of the Amsterdam (1712) and the Venetian (1609) Haggadot (see Scheiber, 1980, 45).


This manuscript, produced by one of the leader scribes-artists in Kittsee for a prominent figure, Rabbi Jacob (ben Lezer) of Lackenbach, is a precious witness of the prolific cultural and Jewish life in the Burgenland. The mid 18th century represented a period of high revival of the art of Hebrew manuscripts decoration that flourished in Central and Eastern Europe since the beginning of the century till the early 19th century.


At least before 1974 the manuscript was in the collection Rabbi Yaakov Schwarz, whose ex-libris can be found on fol. IIIv (see: History). On October 15, 1974, the manuscript was auctioned off in Sotheby’s (Parke Bernet Public Auction, cat. No. 326) and then (Andreas, please check the date of the donation/purchase of the ms) reached the Austrian National Library through a private owner. The pencil-page-numbers and the entry on fol. 1  Restauro refer to an older restoration (of the 20th century) inItaly.




7 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Vienna Seder Milah | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Full page: (14-17) X ca. 77 mm.
Text space: (92-94) X ca. 55 mm.
Panel Measurements
The manuscript is in a good condition
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
Circumcision Service and Grace after Meals, including instructions in Hebrew and Yiddish. The main blessings over the Circumcision Ceremony are completely missing. Punctuated. Title page: including colophon and owner's note (fol. 1) Prayers to be recited at the ceremony: (fols. 1v-3v), including: passages from Nehemiah 9: 9 - 11, Exodus 14:30 – 15:18 (fols. 2-3v; fol. 3v ends with the verse ki lahashem hamelucha, continuation missing) Grace after meals: (fols. 4-9), beginning with "mazon leolam vaed " (zimmun and beginning of the first blessing are missing), including special prayers and requests inserted at a circumcision meal (fols. 7-8v). Blessing over wine after the Grace after Meals: (fol. 9v) Final blessing over wine: (fols. 9v-10v)

Material:  Parchment, I + II + 10 + I leaves





Full page: (14-17) X ca.77 mm.

Text space: (92-94) X ca.55 mm.



One single scribe:


Hayyim ben Asher Anshel

Main text and instructions

fols. 1-10v.



Main text written in square Ashkenazi script, in different sizes, in brown and light brown ink.

Instructions in Hebrew and Yiddish written in small semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in brown ink.

Four initial words written in larger square Ashkenazi script in darker brown ink (fols. 1v, 7v, 8, 9v)



Number of lines

Main text:

15 (fols. 1v-3v) – 17 (fols. 5-7)



The original ruling in plummet, today no discernible except for fol. 10v.



Pricking is discernible along the outer margins of the text space (fols. 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10).



Three quires, one of 4 leaves and two of 3 leaves. Missing text between quires 1 and 2 (between fols. 3v and 4), indicates that at least one leave with text is missing. Considering the large part of text missing (all the service for the circumcision), it seems that an entire quire is missing.

: I2+1 (fol. 3 is a widow; a stub is discernible on fol. 1; missing text).


                 III1+2 (fol. 8 is a widow; a stub is discernible on fol. 10v, no text is missing)



On fol. 2v one catchword for leave is written horizontally on the lower-left corner of the page.

 Hebrew numeration


 Blank leaves



Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
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 Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Fol. 1, as part of the title page, scribal colophon written in square Ashkenazi script in brown ink. "סדר / דינים ותפילות / השייכים לברית / מילה נעשה / פה / ק"ק [קהילת קדש] קיצע / שנת תקי"ח לפק" Translation: "Order of laws and prayers belonging to the circumcision ceremony, executed here in Kittsee (Koepcseny), in the year [5]518 (1758)"
Scribal Notes
On fol. 10v, the scribal ending note: תם ונשלם שבח לה' בורא עולם “Finished and completed, praise to God the Creator of the world
Trade Mark

Binding: 124 X 84 X12-13 mm

Box: 136 X 90 X29 mm.


Black leather binding with blind-tooled designs of a foliate scroll motif interspersed with fruit (pomegranates?) and flowers on either side. The manuscript is kept in a brown leather box, decorated with 49 (7x7) compartments of alternating tooled rosettes and fleurs-de-lis. Stamped on the spine, in gold letters:


"Seder Milah, Kittsea, [5]518"


Decoration Program

The decoration was made close to the writing of the text by the scribe himself. It consists of one title-page (fol. 1) and of four initial word panels; all executed in light brown ink, and filled in monochrome light gray shadows.  


  1. One title-page: with figures of Moses and Aharon flanking the central panel with the title inscription (fol. 1)
  2. Four initial words panels: written within elaborated cartouches, (fols. 1v, 8, 7v, 9v), decorated with floral scrolls one unframed (fol. 7v), but decorated with cartouches, foliate scrolls, flowers and birds.
Suggested Reconsdivuction
Fol. 1, in the cartouche at the center of the bottom of the architectural frontispiece: owner's inscription written in semi-cursive Ashkenazi script by the hand of the scribe: שייך להר"ר / יעקב מלאקין/ באך "Belongs to R. Yaakov of Lackenbach" Fol IIIv (verso of the 3rd front flyleaf): the oval ex-libris of Yaakov Schwarz, inscribed: אוסף יעקב שוורץ “Yaakov Schwarz’s collection”; the inscription is written following the edge of the oval stamp, enclosing a crowned heraldic lion regardant aside a seven-branched lit Menorah. Holding the manuscript upside down, on fols. 10v, 9v, 5v, 6v numeration in Arabic ciphers is discernable in the upper-left corners of the pages (clearly readable respectively are numbered: 1, 2, 6, 7), probably by the hand of the later binder. Binding restoration possibly of the 20th century, done in Italy as attested by the inscription on fol. 1 Restauro (for Karl-George: can you please verify this from your document) 15 October 1974: sold in Sotheby’s to a private collector (Yehuda Elberg, Montreal, according to the Microfilm Institute database), and then donated to the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (for Andreas: can you please check when it was donated?)
Main Surveys & Excavations
Monumenta Hungaria, 1974 Monumenta Hungaria Judaica, ed. A. Scheiber, Budapest, 1974. Scheiber, “Asher Anshel” Scheiber, A., “Hayyim ben Asher Anshel” in: Yeda ‘Am, 3, Tel-Aviv (1955), 22-23. Scheiber, “Five more works” Scheiber. “Five more works by Hayyim ben Asher Anshel”, in: Studies in Bibliography and Booklore VI, 4, Cincinnati, Ohio (1964), 133-141 Scheiber, “Burgenland”, 1966 Scheiber, A. “Die Anfänge der jüdischen Kunst im Burgenland. Die unbekannten illustrierten Werke des Chajjim b. Ascher Anschel aus Kittsee“, in: Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten aus dem Burgenland 35 (Festschrift Alphons A. Barb), Eisenstadt 1966, 515-521. Scheiber, “Burgenland”, 1970 Scheiber, A., Die Anfänge der jüdischen Kunst im Burgenland, in: H. GOLD: Gedenkbuch der untergegangenen Judengemeinden des Burgenlandes, Tel Aviv 1970, 121-122 ., Zwei unbekannte Werke des Illustrators von Kittsee, Chajjim b. Ascher Anschel, in: Zeitschrift für die Geschichte der Juden VIII (1971), 51-56. A. Scheiber, “The Jewish Artistic School of Kittsee”, Journal of Jewish Art, 7, 1980, pp. 44, no. 2. R. D. BARNETT, Catalogue of the Permanent and Loan Collections of the Jewish Museum, London, London, New York, 1974, 121-122. U. SCHUBERT, 1992, 125-126 Sotheby’s, Parke Bernet Public Auction, October, 15, 1974, Lot. 326 (check) On Jakob b. Leser mediator from Lackenbach: B. Wachstein, Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Eisenstadt und den Siebengemeiden, Wien and Leipzig, 1926 (Nr. 40)
Anna Nizza | October 2000 2003
Author of description
Anna Nizza | 2003 2004 2008
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal | 2001
Language Editor
Judy Cardozo |
Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |