95 Minute book of the Chevra Kadisha
Jitzhak Eisik from Kobersdorf
paper, ink, black leather binding with silver overlay
deposit of the Jewish community of Nagykanizsa, 1949
The Jewish communities established in Hungary in the eighteenth century maintained several organizations and societies, but the Chevra Kadisha, responsible for the ritual burial of the dead was the most common among these. The tasks of the Hevra Kadisha are defined by religious law, but the specific statutes and regulations of each Chevra Kadisha were always adjusted to local traditions. The statutes, the names of the members, and the bookkeeping were often written in ornate minute books. This minute book of the Hevra Kadisha of Nagykanizsa was used between the years 1769 and 1793, and besides the above mentioned, it also contains sections from rabbinical works dealing with the burial of the dead. The quotations from the tractate about hell from Sefer hasidim are illustrated here with ten pictures depicting rituals related to the dead and to burial and the purification of the guilty. The pictures accurately show the typical Jewish clothing of late eighteenth century Hungary, as well as contemporary ideas of hell, angels or the purgatory. Besides these pictures, all 299 pages of the book are richly decorated on the margins. The illustrations were made by Yitzhak Eisik of Kabold (today Kobersdorf, Austria), who is known as the illustrator of several books from western Hungary.