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Object Alone

Obj. ID: 18559
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Prayer Book, Haggadah, and Sod Yesharim by Leon Modena, Fès-Boulemane (Morocco), Second half of the 19th century

© BSB, Photographer: Unknown,
Summary and Remarks

The style and use of motifs in our Haggadah differ considerably from those of another Moroccan Haggadah and Dhir from Tafilalt, except for the similar shape of the maror (cf. figs. 1-3).      


Fig. 1: 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




Fig. 2: Maror (bitter herb)

Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt region

1838-1850 and c.1870

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

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)  

Fig. 3: Maror (bitter herb)

Passover Haggadah and Dhir

Morocco, Tafilalt, c.1875

   Tel-Aviv Gross MO.011.011, fol. 11

©  Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection



On the other hand, the fine acanthus scrolls drawn by Scribe A (fig. 4) are similar to those found in a Dhir manuscript of the Gross collection, perhaps fromFez, c.1900 (fig. 5). In fact, even the full-page frame of the colophon of that manuscript enclosing a multifoil arch (fig. 6), recalls that in our manuscript, executed by Scribe B (fig. 7), rather than the twin arches of another Dhir from Tafilalt of 1897 (fig. 8). Despite the combination of fine and fleshy acanthus scrolls in our manuscript (fig. 9), it seems that its style is closer to manuscripts from the Fez-Boulmane region, either from Fez itself (figs. 5, 6) or Outat of 1870 (fig. 10), rather than those from Tafilalt.




Fig. 4: Moroccan Prayer Book and Haggadah

North-east Morocco, Fez-Boulmane region

Second-half of 19th century

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 455, fol. 11


Figs. 5, 6: Morrocan Passover Haggadah and Dhir 

Morocco, Fez (?), c.1900

Tel-Aviv Gross, MO.011.019, fols. 3v-4

© Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection













Fig. 7: Moroccan Prayer Book and Haggadah

North-east Morocco, Fez-Boulmane region

Second-half of 19th century

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 455, fol. 21


Fig. 8: Morrocan Passover Haggadah and Dhir 

Morocco, Tafilalet, 1897

Tel-Aviv Gross, MO.011.076, fol. 16

©  Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection






Fig. 9: Moroccan Prayer Book and Haggadah

North-east Morocco, Fez-Boulmane region

Second-half of 19th century

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 455, fol. 13v


Fig. 10: Morrocan Passover Haggadah and Dhir 

Outat, Fez-Boulmane region                          

Morocco, 1870                                               

Tel-Aviv Gross, MO.011.009, fol. 40v

© Tel-Aviv, Gross Family Collection




12 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Moroccan Prayer Book, Haggadah, and Sod Yesharim by Leon Modena | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Second half of the 19th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Period Detail
Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod.hebr. 455 (Róth 1965 II, No. 249)
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Paper, 1 + 30 + 1 (numbered 31) leaves (fol. 31 is a fragment on modern paper used as a flyleaf).
Two sets of foliation: one modern, fols. 1-31; in the second, fols. 1-651, the first digit denotes a folio number, while the second digit changes every 10 leaves). The following synchronises the two versions: fols. 1=321 (131); 2=421; 3=521; 4=621; 5=721; 6=821; 7=921; 8=031; 9=131; 10=231; 11=331; 12=431; 13=531; 14=631; 15=731; 16=831; 17=931; 18=041; 19=141; 20=241; 21=341; 22=441; 23=541; 24=641; 25=741; 26=841; 27=941; 28=251 (sic); 29=351;30=651 (sic).
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Full page: (141-145) x (92-98) mm.
Text space: (97-105) x (66-72) mm.
Panel Measurements
The Siddur lacks most of its text at the beginning.
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
Compilation of three works. Not vocalised. Including: תפלות לראש השנה Kabbalistic prayer book for the New Year with a few piyyutim (fols. 1-12v); הגדה של פסח Passover Haggadah (fols. 13-23) openning with the Seder signs. The end of the last Hallel piyyut is missing; the text of the maror and the first two Hallel piyyutim are repeated (fols. 18v, 19v); ספר סוד ישרים Book of Sod Yesharim: Hundred Riddles and some Charms (מאה חידות וכמה סגולות, by Leon Modena (Venice, 1571–1648), sections 1-9. Disrupted: להסיר היבלת הנקרא מורי וקאלי בלע"ז (fols. 28-29).
Two main scribes: Scribe A: fols. 1-12v; fols. 28-29. Scribe B: fols. 13-23 (the last 5 text lines by Hand 1). Hand 1: fol. 23, last five text lines (the Nishmat prayer is not complete).
Scribe A: Maghrebi semi-cursive script in light brown ink. Scribe B: mainly small square Maghrebi script in light brown ink. Hand 1 (fol. 23): small square Maghrebi script in greyish ink.
Number of Lines
The text is written in 21-25 lines per page.
Ruling of text space by ruling-board (mastara), hardly visible (e.g. fols. 22, 23, 24).
7 quires of four leaves each, except for: VI8 (fols. 21-28), VII2 (fols. 29-30). Quire structure: I4 (1-4); II4 (5-8) III4 (9-12); IV4 (13-16); V4 (17-20); VI8 (21-28); VII2 (29-30: last flyleaf is numbered 31).
Catchwords for pages written in the lower left-hand corner of the page, some missing.
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Fols. 19r, 23v-27v, 29v-31 and the back pastedown belong to the original manuscript, but now have notes and sketches by a crude hand, probably the owners', except for two drawings by Scribe B of a scroll and an eight-pointed star (fols. 25v-26).
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
By Scribe B: Fol.24v: ...נשלם בשנת...במנינינו (…completed in the year … in our count). Fol. 25v: first line, אֹמֵר אָנִי מַעֲשַׂי לְמֶלֶךְ לְשׁוֹנִי עֵט סוֹפֵר מָהִיר (Ps. 45:2); second line: (כתבתי זה הספר (?, I wrote this book (?); third line: ... נשלם בכד בשנת ... במייניין (?), (completed on the 24th in the year… in (our) count (?)).
Scribal Notes
Watermark: flyleaf 1, unclear.
Trade Mark

19th-century cardboard covered with dark brown leather, decorated with blind-tooled rectangular frames.

Restored with additions of brown leather in February 1971.

Decoration Program

The decoration was done by the two scribes, each in his section, in the same shade of brown ink as their texts. Crude drawings were added on the blank pages (fols. 19, 24-27v, 30v-31) and on the back pastedown.  

Scribe A:

Drawings: a vase and a box-shape flanking the text קדוש ונורא (Holy and Awesome; fol. 11); triangular shapes framed by a scroll marking the end of the prayers for New Year (fol. 12v).

Scribe B:

I.Text illustrations: a Torah ark, in the form of a gabled square with open doors decorated with foliage scrolls, encloses the words על אחת כמה וכמה (How numerous then and how oft repeated), which open the second half of the piyyut דיינו (Dayyeinu; fol. 17v); three illustrations for the mishna of Raban Gamliel: פסח מצה ומרור (Passover lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (fol. 18-18v): a lamb (fol. 18; crudely repeated, fol. 19); a round mazzah on a square napkin in a round dish (fol. 18); a maror as a stylised tree with three pairs of branches standing on a semi-circular base (fol. 18v; crudely repeated, fol. 19);  the repeated text of the maror is marked by a three tiered V-shaped vessel (?) on a triangular foot, decorated with foliate scrolls (fol. 19v).

II. Decorated frames of spared-ground foliage scrolls: one full-page frame enclosing the beginning of the second part of the Haggadah, Pour out (שפוך, Shefokh; fol. 21); an initial word panel opening the first section of the Haggadah, This is the bread of affliction (הא לחמא, Ha Lahma; fol. 13v); a triangle which underlines the initial word of the Kiddush, Blessed (ברוך, Baruch; fol. 20), to be recited before the Seder meal.

III. Crude drawings on blank folios: a vase with six flowers, a decorated column and a lion (fol. 19); a six-pointed Star of David (fol. 24); horses (fols. 24v-25), one with a knight; a foliage scroll and an eight-pointed star by Scribe B (fols. 25v-26), partly coloured and imitated by a crude hand (fols. 25v-27v and back pastedown).

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

Suggested Reconsdivuction
Pen trials and owners' inscriptions: hardly legible (fols. 29v-31). Fol. 29v, some scribbling by later hands including an owner's name יהודה בירדוגו Yehuda Birdugo (fol. 30v, on the left), and many abacedea trials. Library signature, stamp and stickers: • The manuscript was acquired in 1966 together with codices 452-454 and 456-465 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. 249; cf. Cod.hebr. 453: History). • Fol. 1, pencil signature "Mainz No. 102" inscribed vertically along the outer margin. • Fols. 1, 28v, round modern stamp of the Library: B[ayerische] ST[aats] B[ibliothek] München. • Stuck on front pastedown, הגדה ש"פ (של פסח)/ נוסח/ מארוקו, (Passover Haggadah Moroccan rite). • On the front pastedown and on a sticker on the back cover, a pencil and ink signature Cod.hebr. 455. • On the back pastedown, a sticker bearing the date of restoration: February, 1971.
Main Surveys & Excavations
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. 249 (Mainz 102).
Ilona Steinman; Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 2008; 2010
Author of description
Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin; Yaffa Levy | 2009, 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 |