The Pauker Haggadah N.0009

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This handsome Haggadah, bound in dark brown calfskin elaborately embossed with gold, resembles a rare tome of early engravings. The artist’s powerful, black-and-white image of the events portrayed and recited in the Passover Seder is evident from the very first page, where matza is being baked in the long communal ovens of olden times. Men, women and children participate in holiday preparations in a well-appointed medieval setting. Figures from the Biblical era – a simple shepherd, the High Priest – make frequent appearances. All is not reminiscent of the antique, however: a few pages into the book, the artist asserts his time and place with a very contemporary-looking tam (the “simple son”), in jeans and backpack, waving to readers from a modern urban balcony.
On these pages: The Hebrew words of the Hallel (prayer of praise) is brilliantly designed into a black-and-white graphic design complemented by a graceful floral pattern and accented by blue, burgundy and gold coloring. This stunning page of text more than balances the full-page illustration opposite, depicting Moses with the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Though Moses is the human hero of the Passover narrative, leading his people out of Egypt, his name is never mentioned in the text itself. It is perhaps in deference to this tradition that the artist portrays Moses at a time and place beyond the purview of the Haggadah.

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