Meah Berachot

Private Collection

Alternate Titles:

Me’ah Berakhot

Facsimile edition
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$ 2,348
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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Me’ah Berakhot

Type
Extent / Format

70 pages / 4.0 x 3.6 cm

Origin
Date
18th century
Genre
Language
Illustrations

Illuminated title-page and 29 miniature panels

Short description

A Luxurious example of a Jewish prayer book: this wonderful Meah Berachot was presumably made in the 18th century as a precious gift for a lady in the old art of illumination. As already indicated in the title, the small book measuring 4 x 3.6 cm contains 100 prayers. These were meant to be spoken daily by observant Jews at particular times of day and set occasions – before a meal or going to bed, during thunderstorms or in ritual bathing. In this manuscript, the 100 prayers are illustrated with magnificent miniatures, which offer a glimpse into everyday Jewish life at that time. A gorgeous gem of Jewish culture!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Meah Berachot

A Luxurious example of a Jewish prayer book: this wonderful Meah Berachot was presumably made in the 18th century as a precious gift for a lady in the old art of illumination. As already indicated in the title, the small book measuring 4 x 3.6 cm contains 100 prayers. These were meant to be spoken daily by observant Jews at particular times of day and set occasions – before a meal or going to bed, during thunderstorms or in ritual bathing. In this manuscript, the 100 prayers are illustrated with magnificent miniatures, which offer a glimpse into everyday Jewish life at that time. A gorgeous gem of Jewish culture!

Scenes from Everyday Jewish Life

A gorgeous title page introduces the small Hebrew prayer book: the miniature is divided into three registers with marvelously figurative depictions around the book’s title at the center of the composition. Alongside this image page, there are 29 miniature strips adorning the 70 pages of the book. These miniatures illustrate some of the activities and events that are named in the prayers and blessings. In doing so, Jewish daily life is recorded in wonderful depictions, e.g. the lighting of the Sabbath candles, family meals, or other typical events for that time such as the medical practice of bloodletting.

Blessings and Prayers for Every Occasion

This precious Hebrew prayer book contains, as betrayed by the Hebrew title Meah Berachot, 100 prayers. Observant Jews should say a minimum of 100 prayers and blessings daily at various times of day and on particular occasions. Thus one finds prayers for the morning, prayers to be spoken before meals and going to bed, or entreaties for God’s blessing during travel. Alongside these everyday activities, sayings and prayers were also listed for curious experiences such as when glimpsing a beautiful tree, upon first wearing new clothes or in a thunderstorm, while backing bread or in a ritual bath.

A Precious 18th Century Manuscript

This Meah Berachot manuscript originated from central Europe in the 18th century. It is a luxurious specimen. The prayer book was created in a return to the medieval art of illumination. It was probably intended as a gift for a lady, perhaps even for a bride, but is appropriate for Jews of every age and gender! Bound in dark red leather with golden ornamentation and artful silver fittings, the manuscript gives an inside view of Jewish culture at that time.

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