This is a painting by Arieh Allweil titled “To the Liberated Jerusalem” that appeared in a Haggadah he illustrated in 1949. In the centre of the painting is a Hebrew soldier holding the Menorah from the temple. Around him are other figures including a refugee arriving at the shore holding a weapon, a family in hiding, a girl, and a soldier with a sword. The illustration also depicts buildings, walls, mountains, and an illegal immigrant boat landing.
The painting provides a modern interpretation of the story of the Haggadah, showing the redemption of the Jewish People from the horrors of the Holocaust and the establishment of the Jewish State. The Menorah, famous from the picture on the Arch of Titus, is being proudly carried by a Jewish soldier. The traditional words from the end of the Haggadah, “Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem,” have been altered to read “to the liberated Jerusalem.”
This work was also included in a collection of paintings by the artist from 1956 called Allweil: 70 Pictures. In his introduction to the Haggadah, Y.M. Lask emphasised that the soldier’s grasp of the Menorah rather than a weapon implies the spiritual and religious content of the establishment of the state – the restoration of the stolen Temple vessels and the spiritual rebirth of the nation rather than a purely military endeavour.
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Arieh Allweil - The painter Arieh Allweil (1901-1967) was a Zionist pioneer, which is reflected in this and other paintings in the Haggadah.
Haggadah - While Jews scattered around the world have adapted to changing times and different places, adopting independent languages and customs, the annual telling of the Haggadah – the story of the Exodus from Egypt– remained unchanged, taking place every year on the eve of Passover eve during the Seder:
And you shall tell your son on that day, saying: It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.
Though this core message persists, the Haggadah itself has evolved, adapting in form and content to local cultures and influences.