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Bidding Information
Lot #    22022
Auction End Date    11/18/2008 12:04:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Haggadah shel Pesah with commentary on Had Gadya
Title (Hebrew)    הגדה של פסח עם פירש ... על חד גדיא
Author    R. Isaac Judah ben Jacob Katz of Eisendstadt
City    Altona
Publisher    Aaron ben Eli Katz
Publication Date    1761
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. [2], 11, 11-18 ff. quarto 178:143 mm., wide margins, usual age, damp, and use staining, small tear in title. A rare haggadah bound in contemporary boards, rubbed.
   Unusual Haggadah with a commentary on Had Gadya by R. Isaac Judah ben Jacob Katz of Eisendstadt. The first part of the volume id the text of the Haggadahfollowed by the commentary on Had Gadya. That section begins with a lengthy introduction and then the commentary.

Had Gadya (An Only Kid) is the initial phrase and name of a popular Aramaic song chanted at the conclusion of the Passover seder. Composed of ten stanzas, the verse runs as follows: A father bought a kid for two zuzim; a cat came and ate the kid; a dog then bit the cat; the dog was beaten by a stick; the stick was burned by fire; water quenched the fire; an ox drank the water; a shohet slaughtered the ox; the shohet was killed by the Angel of Death who in punishment was destroyed by God. Each stanza repeats the previous verses closing with the refrain: "had gadya, had gadya." Jewish commentators have invested "Had Gadya" with a hidden allegorical meaning in which the kid symbolizes the oppressed Jewish people. It was bought by the father (God) for two coins (Moses and Aaron). The devouring cat stands for Assyria; the dog is Babylon; the stick represents Persia; the fire Macedonia; the water is Rome; the ox, the Saracens; the shohet, the Crusaders; and the Angel of Death, the Turks who in those days ruled Palestine. The end of the song expresses the hope for messianic redemption: God destroys the foreign rulers of the Holy Land and vindicates Israel, "the only kid." Other commentators have tried to interpret "Had Gadya" as an allegorization of the Joseph legend or of the relationship between body and soul as reflected in Jewish mysticism. The best-known Jewish interpretations of "Had Gadya" are (1) Kerem Ein Gedi, by Judah b. Mordecai Horowitz (Koenigsberg, 1764); (2) a commentary by R. Jonathan Eybeschuetz (Neubauer Cat Bodl. 1 (1886), no. 2246); (3) two commentaries by the Gaon of Vilna (e.g., in the Haggadah Migdal Eder, Vilna, 1923); (4) and a commentary by R. Moses Sofer (ibid.). Most scholars agree, however, that the song was borrowed from a German folk song of the Hobelbanklied type ("Der Herr der schickt den Jokel aus") which, in turn, is based on an old French nursery song. Joseph Jacobs (in notes to his English Fairy Tales, London, 1893) points to the analogy of "Had Gadya" with Don Quixote and with certain Persian and Indian poems. The riddle of the motif and meaning of "Had Gadya" was also dealt with by Christian writers, notably by Hermann von der Hardt, in his Had Gadia Historia Universalis Judaeorum in aenigmate (Helmstadt, n.d.) and also by J.C. Wagenseil, and by J.C.G. Bodenschatz. The song seems to have originated in the 16th century and appears for the first time in a Haggadah printed in Prague (1590). It was never part of the Sephardi and the Yemenite rituals. It was incorporated into the Haggadah (like the other concluding songs; i.e. "Ehad Mi Yode'a") for the amusement of the children so that they might not fall asleep before the end of the seder.

Paragraph 2    עם פירש ... על חד גדיא מהתורני ... ר' יצחק יהודא בהמנוח כהר"ר יאקב כ"ץ ז"ל מאייזנשטט ... ב'ר'א'ש' מו'עד'ות פסח'
   EJ; Yaari, 146; Yudlov 230; CD-EPI 0188334
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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
Haggadah:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica