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Object Alone

Obj. ID: 19104
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Haggadah and Dhir of Passover, Morocco, 1838-1850 and c.1870

© BSB, Photographer: Unknown,
Summary and Remarks

This prayer book of the Moroccan rite (Tiqun Pesah) consists of a Hebrew Haggadah (fols. 9-21v) and Dhir for Passover (צ'היר / טהיר של פסח), which includes haftarot in Aramaic and piyyutim (fols. 22-33v). The arrangement of quires is not original, but the result of rebinding. The additional first quire (fols. 1-6) is of different paper inscribed by six later hands with notes in Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic, as well as sketches; two other leaves of the same paper at the end of the book include piyyutim (fols. 34-35v).

The decoration programme of the original part was executed by the scribe and now consists of eight full-page arches, six of which are horseshoe-shaped (fols. 9, 23, 26, 27v, 30v-31), and two panels illustrating the mazzah (fol. 19v) and maror (fol. 20). The arches are decorated with foliate and geometrical patterns in green and orange.

The style is typical of decorated manuscripts from the Tafilalt region in south-eastMorocco. The colours and decorative patterns recall the 1838 Passover Haggadah and Dhir written by Moshe Shmaya Betan in Tinzolin, Tafilalet (cf. figs. 1 and 2), and another Dhir from the same area of c.1850 (cf. figs. 3 and 4). The common patterns and colours of orange and green can be found also in an Esther scroll and marriage contracts (Ketubbot) of the region. Some Ketubbot are marked Sijilmassa, the Jewish name for the Tafilalt area (cf. figs. 5 and 6).



Fig. 1: Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt region

1838-1850 and c.1870

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 453, fol. 9

Fig. 2: Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tinzolin (Tafilalet region), 1838

Tel-Aviv Gross MO.011.013, fols. 6v-7

© Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection



Fig. 3:Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt region

1838-1850 and c.1870

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 453, fol. 23

  Fig. 4. Passover Haggadah and Dhir

 Morocco, Tafilalt, c.1850

  Tel-Aviv Gross MO.011.011, fol. 14

  © Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection



Fig. 5: Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt region

1838-1850 and c.1870

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 453, fol. 30v

Fig. 6: Ketubbah

Morocco, Sijilmassa, 1902

Moldovan Family Collection,New York

   (NLI, The David and Fela Shapell Family

   Digitalization Project - Ketubbot Collection)


There are other Passover Haggadah and Dhir manuscripts in the style of Tafilalt region, dated in the 1870s. One, of c.1875, includes an illustration of the maror (bitter herb) as a stylised stem with two branches, standing on a semi-circular base within an arch. This stem-shaped maror recalls that in our manuscript

(cf. figs. 7 and 8), as well as that in another 19th-century Moroccan Haggadah, although the latter's style differs (fig. 9).



Fig. 7: Maror (bitter herb)

Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt region

1838-1850 and c.1870

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 453, fol. 20

Fig. 8: Maror (bitter herb)

Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt, c.1875

   Tel-Aviv Gross MO.011.011, fol. 11

© Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection



Fig. 9: Maror (bitter herb)

Moroccan Prayer Book and Haggadah

North-east Morocco, Fez-Boulmane region Second-half of 19th century

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 455, fol. 18v

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)



The comparison with other Passover Haggadah and Dhir manuscripts produced later in Tafilalt shows

continued use of the typical geometric and foliate designs and colours as late as the beginning of the 20th century (cf. figs. 10 and 11).



Fig. 10: Passover Haggadah and Dhir  

Morocco, Tafilalt region

1838-1850 and c.1870

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 453, fol. 19v

Fig. 11: Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt, c.1900

  Tel-Aviv Gross MO.011.075, fol. 2v

© Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection





Many manuscripts were produced during the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century in this rural region for its various small communities (Moshe Bar-Asher 1991:147), but the style of script showed little change. On the other hand, the densely composed decoration became richer, using similar motifs. One example is a manuscript from Tafilalt, produced according to its colophon in 1911 by Moshe Elasri (;משה אלעסרי fig. 12).



Fig. 12: Tikun Pesah 

Morocco, Tafilalt, 1911

Private collection

(M. Bar-Asher 1991)


Of special interest in connection with our manuscript is a Haggadah and Dhir (Tel-Aviv Gross, MO.011.09), which according to the colophon was written in 1870 by Moshe ben Yitzhak Maman in Outat (Outat Oulad el Haj), a small town in north-east Morocco in the Fez-Boulmane region. It was richly decorated in black ink in spared-ground technique, and includes a drawing of silver Berber twin fibulae flanking a comb (fig. 13). The drawing emphasises a text which twice mentions Moses, perhaps alluding our scribe Moshe. In the added first quire of our manuscript two sketchy drawings of similar fibulae are drawn by two different hands: a dexterous drawing possibly by Hand 6 (fol. 3v-fig. 14), and a cruder version by an unidentified hand (fol. 2). They resemble Moshe Maman's jewel in most details, in particular by flanking an object which recalls a comb. Although it can be argued that since the triangular fibulae are very common inMoroccoand so anyone could draw them anywhere, the unusual composition with a comb in the centre suggests a close relationship between the Dhir of Maman from Outat and the first quire which was added to our manuscript. Moreover, the knot motif above our drawing is an enlargement of that in Maman's fibulae and it can thus be assumed that it served as a direct model for Hand 6 who copied it in our added quire.


This assumption leads to the following conclusions: since the script of our original manuscript and its decoration do not resemble Maman's, it seems that his manuscript from Outat was not in front of our original scribe. Indeed, our manuscript is closer to the Tafilalt style, especially to the early manuscripts of 1838 (fig. 2) and c.1850 (fig. 4). Our additional quire, if it indeed copies Maman's jewel of 1870, is of about this time. Apparently the six crude hands which haphazardly entered various notes and sketches in that quire were members of the family which owned our Tafilalt manuscript. At some point the added quire was bound with our manuscript, whether in Tafilalt or Outat we shall never know.




 Fig. 13: Twin fibulae flanking a comb

Passover Haggadah and Dhir  

Morocco, Outat, north-eastMorocco

(Fez-Boulmane region), 1870

Tel-Aviv Gross MO.011.09, fol. 68

© Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection

Fig. 14: Twin fibulae flanking a comb

Passover Haggadah and Dhir  

Morocco, Tafilalt region or Outat, c.1870

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 453, fol. 3v




14 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Morrocan Haggadah and Dhir of Passover (Tiqun Pesah) | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
1838-1850, circa 1870
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown |
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Period Detail
Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod.hebr. 453 (Róth 1965 II, No. 247)
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Paper, 1 + 33 + 1 leaves (numerated 35, omitting Nos. 7-8); fols. 1-6 and 34-35 are of different paper with later additions of c.1870.
Watermarks: None
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Full page: (154-155) x (102-103) mm.
Text space: (113-123) x (75-77) mm.
Panel Measurements
The manuscript is mutilated, most of the text is missing; some colours have flaked off.
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
The manuscript (Tiqun Pesah) consists of a Passover Haggadah of the Moroccan rite with Judaeo-Arabic instructions (תקסים), and Dhir (צ'היר) for Passover including piyyutim and haftarot in Hebrew and Aramaic). Unvocalised. The damaged manuscript starts with an additional quire of 6 leaves and lacks the beginning and end of the Haggadah, as well as the beginning of the Dhir, and leaves with text following fols. 9, 13, 21, 25, 27, 32, and 33. I. Passover Haggadah (fols. 9-21v): as is customary in Tafilalt communities the kiddush for Passover eve is the long version, the Kiddusha Rabbah (fols. 9-10; see S. Bar-Asher 2007:297-300); our manuscript begins with קדש אשר תקראו אותם במועדם. Also the reading of the Haggadah begins with בבהילו יצאנו ממצרים (fol. 11), which precedes the regular הא לחמא. The Haggadah ends with ברכת הגאולה (fol. 21v). II. Dhir for Passover: piyyutim and the haftarot for Passover in Aramaic (fols. 22-35v, beginning missing), including: 1. Haftarot (fols. 22-30): For the first day (fols. 22-25v): beginning מברך מן עלמא ועד עלמא, followed by reshut for the haftarah (fol. 22-22v); haftarah (fols. 22v-25v; Josh. 5:2-14. Last words (ונפל יהושע על אפוהי/ וסגיר ובעא. For the second day (fols. 26-27, beginning ישראל ומלכייא דבית יהודה (II Kings 23:22-30: the last verse is repeated in Hebrew in cursive script). For Shabbat Hol hamoed (fol. 27v), ends בקעתא/ והא מליא (Ezek. 37:1). For the seventh day (fols. 28-30), beginning יתיב בתקוף רומא (II Sam. 22:17-51: the last verse is repeated in Hebrew in cursive script). For the last, eighth day (fol. 30; Is.10:32) just the verse עוד היום בנוב. 2. Reading from the Vitri Mahzor in Aramaic (fols. 30v-33v): For the last, eighth day of Passover (fols. 30v-32v; Vitri:184 (קפד), end missing). For Shabbat Hol hamoed (fols. 33-33v; Vitri:182 (קפב), beginning missing). 3. Reshut for haftarah for the seventh day of Passover (fol. 33v, end missing). 4. Additional piyyutim (fols. 34-35v): beginning אודה לאל חי (fol. 34, end missing).
Scribe A: scribe of the main text. On the added paper, six crude hands appear: Hand 1: addition of the Seder signs (fol. 5), and many crude drawings (e.g. fols. 2-4 and 6-6v). Hand 2: addition of piyyutim (fols. 34-35v). Hand 3: pen trials (fol. 1; Ps. 45:2). Hand 4: pen trials (fol. 4; Ps. 45:2). Hand 5: pen trials in blue ink (fol. 1; Prov. 1:8); personal note in Judaeo-Arabic (fol. 1v); list of donors (fol. 4); note in square script (fol. 6v). Hand 6: owner’s inscription in cursive script (fol. 3v).
Square Maghrebi script for the main text. Instructions in smaller square script. Cursive script for catchwords.
Number of Lines
The main text is written in 15-17 lines per page.
Text space ruled with a ruling-board (mastara), hardly visible.
Leaves, mostly loose; the composition of the quires is the result of restoration (see History). Quire structure: I6 (1-6: blank; Nos. 7-8 are omitted); II4 (9-12: text missing between fols. 9-10); III6 (13-18: text missing between fols. 13-14); IV4 (19-22: fols. 19 and 22 are now stuck together as a bifolium; text missing between fols. 21-22); V4 (23-26: text missing between fols. 25-26); VI4 (27-30: text missing between fols. 27-28); VII6-1 (31-35: text missing between fols. 32-33, and between fols. 33-34).
Catchwords for pages in semi-cursive Maghrebi script.
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Fols. 1-6: originally blank leaves, now with added notes and sketches.
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
Scribal Notes
Trade Mark

Modern brown leather binding on cardboard dated February 1971. 

Decoration Program

The original decoration of the manuscript consists of decorated arches and frames done by the scribe, in green and orange and dark brown ink. They are filled with foliate scrolls and stylised guilloche motifs, the scrolls mostly in spared-ground technique on green and orange grounds (e.g. fols. 10v-11, 23, 26) or dark brown ink (fols. 30v-31); stylised rosettes (e.g. fols. 23, 26, 30v-31) and other floral motifs (e.g. fol. 20), as well as geometrical patterns of all-over carpet designs, wattle, all-over pattern of crosses (e.g. fols. 9, 19v, 27v) and  knot motifs in the spandrels (fol. 9).

  1. Two stylised text illustrations in decorated panels are below the text on the mazzah (fol. 19v) and maror (fol. 20).
  2. Eight full-page arches: (fols. 9, 10v-11, 23, 26, 27v, 30v-31), six are horseshoe arches (fols. 9, 23, 26, 27v, 30v-31).
  3.  Crude drawings by different later hands on added pages: a lighted menorah (fol. 2), two Moroccan twin fibulae connected by a chain, each pair flanking a comb (fols. 2, 3v), a full-page guilloche frame (fol. 3), four panels with knots, lattice and rosette motifs (fols. 2v, 4v, 6, 6v); a man on horseback and a tea-pot (fol. 4).

Note: Green folio number denotes it is described under "Illuminated Documents".

Suggested Reconsdivuction

Pen trials and owners' inscriptions on the additional folios of c.1870: Fols. 1-6 are of different paper, with many notes, some in Judaeo-Arabic, as well as sketches, a few by Hand 1 and Hand 6. Fols. 34-35 of this paper written by Hand 2 (cf. Scribes): Fol. 1, by Hand 3: pen trials in square Hebrew script אומר אני מעשי למלך (Ps. 45:2); in blue ink שמע בני (Prov. 1:8); ink scribbles. Fol. 1v, by Hand 5: personal note in Judaeo-Arabic square script in blue ink (translation into Hebrew: אני עמדתי לקרוא את המגילה (שיר השירים). הגיעה אלי אגרת שלוחה מאת דודי (אחי אבי) והוא אומר בה אדוני, ברוך הבא ... Fol. 2, top right, illegible note in Hebrew letters. Fol. 3v, by Hand 6: owner’s inscription in dark brown ink. Fol. 4, various notes: - Hand 5, a blue ink note in Judaeo-Arabic (Moroccan dialect) in semi-cursive script, quoting names of donors each with the amount of his donation. - Pen trial in light brown square Hebrew script: אומר אני מעשי למלך לשוני עט סופר מהר (=מהיר) (Ps. 45:2); below in cursive script ה' חפץ למען צדקו, and יחל"צ ית"ו (יהוה חפץ למען צדקו יגדיל תורה ויאדיר; Is. 42:21). Fol. 5, by Hand 1, in square script: Seder signs in Hebrew; instructions in Judaeo-Arabic. Fol. 6v, by Hand 5: note in square Judaeo-Arabic script in blue ink. The manuscript was acquired in 1966 together with codices 452, 454-465 from the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz, where it was listed as manuscript No. 102, arriving there as a bequest from H. M. Schlobies (Róth 1965 II, No. 247; cf. Cod.hebr. 455: History). Library signature, stamp and sticker: Fol. 1, top right, pencil signature: Fols. 1 and 9, modern round stamp of the Library: B[ayerische] ST[aats] B[ibliothek] München. Front pastedown in pencil and back cover on sticker: Cod.hebr. 453. Back pastedown, a sticker with date of restoration: February, 1971.

Main Surveys & Excavations
M. Bar-Asher 1991 מ' בר-אשר, "תיקון של פסח מתאפילאלת שבמרוקו", שנה בשנה, מא (תשס"א), עמ' 147–161. S. Bar-Asher 2007 ש' בר-אשר, "כתב יד של הגדה של פסח ממרוקו (עיון ראשון)", שערי לשון, מחקרים בלשון העברית, בארמית ובלשונות היהודים מוגשים למשה בר אשר, כרך ג', ירושלים, תשס"ז, עמ' 294-303. Róth 1965 E. Róth, Hebräische Handschriften, part II (ed. Striedl); (Ed. W. Voigt, Verzeichnis der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, vol. VI, 2), Wiesbaden 1965, No. 247 (Mainz, No.106).
Ilona Steinman; Anna Nizza | 2008; 2008
Author of description
Anna Nizza; Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin; Yaffa Levy | 2009, 2010; 2014; 2014
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal; Project Head: Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin |
Language Editor
Christine Evans | 2014
Supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation |
Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |