Life-Cycle > Illuminated circumcision prayers
Manuscript in Hebrew on parchment.
MS X893 T71
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This book, Ot Ha-berit (The Sign of the Covenant) was presented to Yehezkel Trish by his friend Yonah Kavo. Containing the traditional sequence of prayers recited at the Jewish circumcision ceremony, it was an appropriate gift for Trish, who served as a mohel, or ritual circumciser, in his community of Lipnik (Czech Republic). The mohel’s prayers begin with private verses and supplications which trace the custom of circumcision back to the patriarch Abraham and express hope that the boys he circumcises will grow up to be men of faith.
Illustrations throughout the manuscript portray the main actors in the circumcision ceremony, namely the baby, the baby’s father, the mohel, and honored guests. Because the circumcision of Jewish boys enables them to "enter the covenant of Abraham," it is considered a joyous occasion which is marked by a feast. The manuscript therefore ends with a special version of Grace After Meals, which is recited after the festive circumcision feast.
This beautiful manuscript was presented to Columbia by Annie Nathan Meyer, a descendent of the pre-colonial Jewish Seixas family, renowned defender of women’s rights, and a founder of Barnard College.
Gift of Annie Nathan Meyer.