Photo Credit: Israel Mizrahi

An exciting acquisition I made this week was a copy of the Amsterdam Haggadah, printed in 1781, and with the map of Eretz Yisrael appended to it – the first map of Eretz Yisrael published in a Jewish publication.

The map was created for an earlier edition of this Haggadah, first printed in 1695, a birth of a new trend of Haggadot publications, with illustrations and iconography.

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The map was created by Abraham Bar Yaacov (b.1650) based on the cartography of Van Adrichom’s map of the Holy Land, and created at a time where both the greatest Hebrew printing press and the most prominent cartographers of the time, were both in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Hebrew Press was founded in 1617 by the heads of the community and operated by Menasseh Ben Israel. Within 20 years, he had published over 60 books in multiple language, quiet a feat for printers in this era.

The map contains the route of the Jews leaving Egypt, but also the route Yaakov and his family took to emigrate from the holy land to Egypt centuries earlier.

The Historian Abraham J. Karp notes that “a special feature of this map, that seems heretofore unnoticed, is Bar Yaacov’s treatment of the Exodus not as leaving but returning. He depicts the traditional Goshen to the Jordan route, but adds another one beginning in Hebron and ending in Goshen, the route the family of Jacob took to Egypt. The route is marked by the only historical vignette on the map, a wagon representing those which Joseph sent to bring his family to Egypt.”

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Israel Mizrahi is the owner of Mizrahi Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY, and JudaicaUsed.com. He can be reached at JudaicaUsed@gmail.com.