Object Alone

Obj. ID: 26163
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Vienna First Dedication page for Charles VI, Wien (Vienna), 1732

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

Meshulam Simmel, the scribe and illuminator of this Dedication page, is one of the most important Jewish scribes and artists of the 18th century. He came from Polna in Bohemia and settled in Vienna as early as 1714, as is evident from the earliest dated manuscript signed by him (Seder Tikkunei Shabbat, Vienna, 1714, London, B.L., Add. Ms. 11433). Most of his signed works are from Vienna, including his latest known work from 1756 (Passover Haggadah, S. Segre Amar collection in Montana, Switzerland). In this period of activity he also worked in other cities such as his native city-Polna (Seder Birkat ha-Mazon, 1717. Tel Aviv, Einhorn Collection), and Prague (Seder Tikkunei Shabbat, 1716,Jerusalem,Israel Museum, 180/5). Most of his works are monochrome drawings imitating copper, engravings done in sepia and grisaille as is in our leaf, although some of his manuscripts are multicolored.   

Although, Simmels' works are mostly small prayer books for private use, we know of other similar dedication pages with the Prayers for the welfare, which are most probably produced by him. One of which is the 1734 document, written in the name of the community of Eisenstadt for Paul II Anton Esterhazy (1734-1762) (now in theEsterhazyPalacein Eisenstadt, Inv. Nr. 1936/428) another one is the dedication page in similar style written for the Duke of Dietrichstein in Nikolsburg (Christie's, New York, East, 24 June 1998, Lot. 1).


The style and motifs of our sheet is influenced by the contemporary "Royal Style" in Austria. The use of bunch of fruits and flowers bouquets, for example, or the depictions of gardens and human masks are typical to this style. Also typical are the depictions of the portraits of the emperor and his wife as well as that the Taler, which follow contemporary engravings of royal figures (compare are the Albrecht Schmidt Augsburg's works). 

Simmel's style is also close to the Jewish Bohemian-Moravian schools of illuminations of the 18th century, which often follow the Amsterdam Haggadah of 1695 and the Venice Haggadah of 1609.

Some of his motifs were influenced by medieval Hebrew illuminated manuscripts or early printed books such as the spared ground technique letters each depicted in a separate panel filled with animals and floral background recalls, for example, the letters of the title page of the Pesaro Mahzor, printed by Soncino in Pesaroin c. 1520. The ribbon-like letters in our sheet appear also earlier, for example, in several manuscripts of Joel ben Simeon (see: Joel ben Simeon Ashkenazi Haggadah, Germany, mid 15th century (London, British Library, Add. Ms. 14762, e.g. fols. 23v, 24.) and the Murphy Haggadah, Northern Italy, mid 15th century (Jerusalem, Jewish National and University Library, Heb. 40 6130, fol. 22v).

Indeed, since these motifs appear in another 18th century Hebrew book illumination, it is not easy to establish a direct influence of the medieval illuminated manuscripts on Simmel's works. For example, in the prayer book of Aryeh Judah Loeb ben Elhana Katz done in Vienna, in 1716/7 (NY, Jewish Museum, 85-79. see: Kleeblatt & Mann, Treasures of the Jewish Museum, pp. 96-97), the initial word is composed by separate panels for each letter on animal and scroll background. Also in Seder Tikkunei Shabbat from Hamburg in 1724, the scribe-artist, Yakob Sofer mi-Berlin, designed his initial words in ribbon-like forms (Israel Museum, 180/10; See: Fishof, 1987, p. 92).   

Some of the motifs in our sheet were already used by Simmel in his earlier works. The animals used within the letters' panels appear already, for example, in Simmel's Perek Shirah copied in Vienna in 1721 (Private Collection. See: From Court Jews to the Rothschilds, pp. 112, 169).


This sheet which includes three versions of prayers for the welfare of the king are usually recited in the synagogue service in Shabbat and festivals prayers in the morning after the reading of the Torah. The earliest record of this prayer is from the 10th century, however, traditionally it is attributed to Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 29:7): "Seek the peace of the city… and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace" and to R. Hanina (Avot 3:2): "Pray for the welfare of the government; since but for fear thereof, men would swallow each other alive." There are several versions of the prayer for the Welfare. The most common one, which starts with the words: הנותן תשועה למלכים... "May He Who dispenseth salvation unto kings…", appears in the left column of our sheet.


We know that this sheet was not hanged or used in a synagogue. According to the Dedicatory inscription of another sheet executed by Simmel for Charles VI, a year later, in 1733 (ONB, Cod. Hebr. 224), both of them were presented to the Emperor and his wife. The reason why Simmel made these pages for the emperor is not clear. Schubert suggested that it is was probably as an honor for Charles VI, who saved the Jews of Vienna from anti-Semitism mobs that called to murder the Viennese Jews in 1715 (The Austrian Jewish Museum, pp. 17- 18). Another suggestion is that Simmel might have wanted to get any kind of position in the Habsburg court as another prominent Jewish scribe-artist, Aaron Wolf Herlingen, received. Herlingen who settled in Vienna at the same period as Simmel reached the high position of "the scribe of the Royal Library of Vienna" (see: From Court Jews to the Rothschilds, p. 150).



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Vienna First Dedication page for Charles VI | Unknown
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Unknown |
Period Detail
Austria | Vienna | Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (ÖNB)
| Cod. Hebr. 223 (Schwartz No. 206)
Documentation / Research project
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Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
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Material Decoration
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Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
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The leaf 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
The dedication page contains three versions of prayers for the welfare of the government for Charles the VI King of the Romans, Bohemia, Croatia and Hungary, Archduke of Austria (1711-1740) and his wife Elizabeth Christina of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttl. The prayers are mostly in Hebrew, but also in German (in Hebrew characters), Latin and Aramaic. The prayers are arranged in three columns and include verses from Psalms and Proverbs. The prayers are punctuated and the verses are also vocalized. The text is written in various sizes of shaped script and organized in three columns. The right column: • On top is the title written in display script: "This is the rite of the prayer "May He bless" (Mi SheBerach) for the Kingdom according to the custom of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, recited on Shabbat" (נוסח מי שברך למלכות יר"ה כפי/ מנהג מדינות פיהם מערהרין שלעזי' שמברכין בבתי כנסיות ישראל בכל/ שבתות השנה אלה לחיי עולם ואלה מתפללים.) • Below it, inscribed in small script in three short columns are verses from Proverbs in Hebrew, German (in Hebrew characters) and in Latin: In Hebrew and German: Prov. 16:13 and 20:28; and in Latin Prov. 29:4, 14 • Below is the prayer for the Welfare of the Government written in display script. The prayer starts with a decorated initial: "G-d" (אלהים), continues with a large square decorated panel enclosing the Emperor's Latin name: Carolus (קראלוס) and ends with the text: "and we will say Amen" (ונאמר אמן). • Below the prayer inscribed in Hebrew in small cursive script are Ps. 45: 2-6 (on the right) with the corresponding translation in German (in Hebrew Characters, on the left) and in Latin (below). • This column ends with the Prayer for the Welfare of the Government in German language written around the portrait of Elizabeth: On the right inscribed the prayer in Hebrew characters while on the left the prayer in Latin characters. The middle column: • On top is the title: Prominent prayer for the welfare of the sovereign ("תפלה נוראה להתפלל בשלומה/ של מלכות" ) • Below, written in small semi-cursive script is an instruction to read three psalms before reciting the prayer for the Welfare of the Government. • Underneath, inscribed in two columns in square script, are Ps. 21 on the right column, and Ps. 61 on the left. • Flanking these Psalms are two narrower vertical columns written in semi-cursive script translating into German (in Hebrew characters) these two Psalms. • Another verse of Ps. 72 is written below, in eight lines in square small script. • Around the portrait of Charles VI inscribed the translation of Ps. 72 into German in Hebrew characters in semi-cursive script. • Below inscribed the Prayer for the Welfare of the Government in Hebrew and some Aramaic text, starting with the decorated square letters: "With the permission of the Lord" (ברשות הקדוש ברוך הוא), continues with the decorated large ribbon like letters of the name of the Emperor: Carolus (קראלוס) and ends with the words: "under the fig tree" (תחת תאנה אמן סלה). • This column ends with the colophon of the scribe (see COLOPHON) The left column: • On top, written in display script, is the title : "This is the rite of the prayer "May He bless" (Mi SheBerach) for the Kingdom according to the custom of the Ashkenazim in Austria and Hungary (נוסח מי שבירך למלכות יר"ה כפי/ מנהג מדינות איסטרייך הונגרין אשכנזים שמברכין כנ"ל וכולן לדבר אחד/ מתכוונים אלו ואלו לדברי אלקים חיים מתפללים). • Below are verses from Prov. 29:4 and 29:14 inscribed in three short columns (of 4 lines each) in semi-cursive script. On the right these verses are written in Hebrew and in the middle and left columns are the corresponding translation in German (in Hebrew characters) and in Latin. • Below, inscribed in square script, is another version of the prayer for the Welfare of the Government in Hebrew, starting with the decorated panel: "May He Who dispenesth" (הנותן), continues with the decorated name: Carolus (קראלוס) and ends with the words: "We will say Amen" (ונאמר אמן). • Below it, inscribed in semi-cursive script in two columns, are Ps. 45: 8, 10, 14, 16 and 18. On the right in Hebrew and on the left the corresponding translation in German (in Hebrew characters). • Inscribed below, other few Latin verses of Ps. 45: 2-6, 8-10, 14, 16-18, topped by the caption: PSALMUS CAP XLV. • This column ends with the Prayer for the Welfare of the Government in German language written around the panel of the Taler: On the right inscribed in Hebrew characters, on the left in Latin. .

Parchment, one leaf.



  Full page :   840  X  693 mm.

  Text space: 690  X  547 mm.    




The text is written in square and semi-cursive Ashkenazi script and in capital and minuscule Latin script in dark and light brown ink. Each type of script is written in various sizes.


Number of columns

The text is written in three main columns, each of which is divided into smaller sections.

Number of lines

Various numbers of lines.


Ruling on lines and lines.


Location(e.g. fols )


Not relevant


Not relevant

 Hebrew numeration

Not relevant

 Blank leaves

The verso side of the leaf is blank?


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
In the lower part of the middle column, inscribed in small Ashkenazi square script the scribe-artist Meshulam Simmel's colophon: זה ידי מעשה לא לשבח ולא להתפאר כי אם לכבוד (המקום ברוך הוא וברוך שמו) אשר בך אתפאר ולכבוד/ (המלכות יר"ה) וברוך המקום שחלק מכבודו לבשר ודם. כי מלכותא דארעא כעין מלכותי דרקיעא לכן אני מתפללים ליה ועינינו/ ליה ושערי תפלות לא ננעלו ותשואות חן חן לו. דברי הכותב והסופר משולם המכונה זימל ב' הרר משה מפאלין. לפרט 1732. כֹיֹ מֹלֹךֹ בֹטֹחֹ בֹיֹ-יֹ בֹחֹסֹדֹ עֹלֹיֹוֹןֹ בֹלֹ יֹמֹטֹ Anno לפ"ק. Translation: This was done by me, for G-d and for the Kingdom. Since the kingdom on earth is like the heavenly Kingdom, we are praying for him. These are the words of the scribe, Meshulam, so called Simmel son of Moshe from Polna. The year is 1732. "For the king trusteth in the Lord and through the mercy of the most high he shall not be moved" (Ps. 21:8). The letters of this last verse are topped by dots and used as numerals to indicate the year (=[5]492), which according to the Hebrew gematria system (numerical value of the letters) is the year 1732.
Scribal Notes
In the lower part of the left-hand column, inscribed in German: "Samuel Moyses Jud und Haebreisch/ auch Pargam Schreiber auß Polna in b(öhmen)". Translation: Shmuel Moshe the Jew and the Hebrew, scribe-parchment from Polna in B(ohemia).
Trade Mark
Decoration Program

The text is written on a large sheet in three columns and surrounded by an illustrative and decorative border.


The right and left text columns are arranged similarly with an initial word panel at the top, the name Carolus at the centre, and an illustrative panel at the lower part of the column. The middle column includes an illustrative panel at the centre and the name Carolus at the lower part.

 The text within the columns is written in shaped-text in different sizes and characters of script, is inserted carefully in a symmetrical order.

 All was done in ink and sepia by the hand of the scribe and artist Meshulam Simmel. This well-balanced composition gives a prominent place to the image of the Emperor by emphasizing his name three times. He is also accompanied by the portrait of his wife the Empress and by the depiction of the Taler, which symbolizes his sovereignty. Elizabeth's portrait and the Taler are portrayed in the lower sides of the sheet, leaving the main position for His Majesty the King.





  1. Three illustrative panels, in each column: enclosing the portraits of Emperor Charles VI (central column), Empress Elizabeth Christina (right column), and the depiction of the Taler (left column).
  2. Decorative border with biblical scenes, courtly architecture, and decorative motifs.                                                                  Eight biblical scenes are set at the right and left sides of the borders illustrating the eight figures in the "Who delivereth" (Mi She'ana) prayer written in the middle column: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, David and Solomon. The illustrations on the right border are (from top to bottom): Sacrifice of Isaac, Isaac blessing Jacob, Jacob wrestling with the angel and Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dreams. The illustrations on the left border are (from top to bottom): Moses with the tablets of the Law, Aaron the High Priest, David as a musician and King Solomon. Each scene is alternated by a quatrefoil cartouche inscribed with the verses corresponding to the illustrated figure, and by decorative elements such as the vase of flowers, mask or floral decoration. The upper and lower sides of the border are decorated by vignettes of courtly architecture, a bunch of fruits, human masks and geometrical motifs.   
  3. Two decorated initial words on the right and left columns: the initial words: G-d (right column) and Who gives (left column) are both written within inhabited panels and flanked by narrow panels of small lozenges.
  4. Decorated initial letters: The name Carolus on both right and left columns is written in large letters in spared ground technique, each within a separate illustrative panel of animals and wanderers. In the middle column, the letters of the name Carolus are designed as ribbon-like.

Decorated smaller letters 

Suggested Reconsdivuction
Main Surveys & Excavations
Christie's, New York, East, 24 June 1998, Lot. 1 Kleeblatt & Mann, Treasures of the Jewish Museum N. L. Kleeblatt & V. B. Mann, Treasures of the Jewish Museum, New York 1986. Fishof, 1987, p. 92) From Court Jews to the Rothschilds From Court Jews to the Rothschilds: Art, Patronage and Power: 1600-1800. Ed. Mann, V.B., & Cohen, R.I., "Published in conjunction with the exhibition: From court Jews to the Rothschilds: art, patronage and power, 1600-1800, held at the Jewish Museum, New York, 8 September 1996-17 January 1997", Munich 1996. The Austrian Jewish Museum The Austrian Jewish Museum, ed. K. Schubert, Osterreichisches Juedisches Museum Eisenstadt 1989. Fishof, I., Grace After Meals, facsimile edition, Budapest 1991, pp. 18-27. "Government, Prayer for the", Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 7, cols. 834-835. LITERATUR. KRAFFT/DEUTSCH, 189 (Nr. 194). – SCHWARZ, 1925, 238 (Nr. 206). – A. SCHEIBER, An Illuminated Brikat Ha-Mazon Manuscript And Its Copist, Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 3-4 (1958), 115-121, insbes. 116, 121. – E. ROTH, Interessante hebräische Handschriften der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Cod. hebr. 221-224), biblos 8 (1959), 83-87, insbes. 85. – K. SCHUBERT (hg.), Das Österreichische Jüdische Museum, Eisenstadt 1988, 86 (Nr. A 54). – U. SCHUBERT, 1992, 86-87, 187. – J. PERSCHY (red.), Die Fürsten Esterházy. Magnaten, Diplomaten und Mäzene. Kat. Ausst. Eisenstadt, Schloß Esterházy, 28.4.-31.10.1995, Eisenstadt 1995, 299 (Kat. Nr. XII/4). – V.B. MANN, R. I. COHEN, 1996, 112, 150 (Nr. 45), Taf. 84. Zu Vergleichshandschriften: MORAVIA. EIN BLATT ZUR UNTERHALTUNG, ZUR KUNDE DES VATERLANDES UND INDUSTRIELLEN FORTSCHRITTES, Jg. 3 Nr. 57, Donnerstag, 16. Juli 1840, 228. – Katalog Sotheby`s New York, 28. May 1986, lot 198; Catalogue of Western Manuscripts and Miniatures, Sotheby`s London, 5 December 1994, lot. 72. – V. B. MANN, R. I. COHEN, 1996, 169 (Kat. Nr. 86). – H. FLESCH, Aus jüdischen Handschriften in Mähren, Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Cechoslovakischen Republik, II. Jg., Prag 1930, 285-292, insbes. 286-287 mit Abb. 3. – A. SCHEIBER, Two Newly Found Works of Samuel Dreznitz, Studies in Biliography and Booklore 9 (1969), 33-40. – TH. HARBURGER, 1998, Bd. 2, 271-279.
Michal Sterntha |
Author of description
Michal Sternthal Karl-George Pfaendtner Yaffa Levy | 2009
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal |
Language Editor
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The following information on this monument will be completed:
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