From the Raban Haggadah/Courtesy of Mali Doron

“He went down to Egypt—impelled by God’s word.” Thus begins the Hebrew text on this page from an illuminated Haggadah created by Zeev Raban (1890–1970), a leader of Israel’s Zionist Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts. The frieze-like imagery at top depicts the Exodus. At left Jacob wrestles with the angel; at right he dreams of a stairway to heaven.

The name Haggadah, from the Hebrew for “telling,” refers to the retelling of the Exodus story at Passover. The book includes biblical quotations, rabbinic commentary, songs and prayers, and detailed instructions on how to conduct a Seder.

The text on this particular page provides rabbinic commentary on a biblical passage relating to Israel’s sojourn in Egypt. After discussing Jacob’s journey to Egypt, the text continues, “‘And he lived there’—this teaches that our father Jacob did not go to Egypt to settle there permanently, just temporarily, as it is written: ‘And the sons of Jacob said to Pharaoh: “We have come to live in this land temporarily, for there is no pasture for the flocks that belong to your servants, for the famine is harsh in the land of Canaan”’” (quoting Genesis 47:4).