• Dr. Batsheva Goldman-Ida

ALBRECHT DURER AND THE MAGGID'S UNIQUE CUP

Following in the tradition of the Maggid, the Ruzhin-Sadigora dynasty adopted the Epl-Becher apple-shaped cup. Explicit testimony attributes the Epl Becher to the Maggid Dov Ber of Międzyrzecz; in the section on customs in the Kopyczynce volume Ḥasdei Moshe:

"We use a standing cup. And our rabbis would use an Epl-Becher, like the custom of the Ruzhin dynasty. It seems that the Great Maggid of Międzyrzecz had a cup like this" (Heschel, Avraham Yehoshua, Ḥasdei Moshe-Kopyczynitz ( Brooklyn, 2003), Minhagim, 9.)

The apple-bowl cup has been a prescribed form for the Kiddush cup only from the time of the Maggid. The Hasidic Kiddush cup is, thus, testimony to a formal and conceptual innovation in form. The origin of the form of the Hasidic Kiddush cup is a standing wine cup of a particular kind of domestic silver, which appeared in Germany in the sixteenth century, primarily in Nuremberg. The apple shape was part of a naturalistic trend during that period, of which the artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) was the leading proponent. In a sketch by Dürer one can see the squat, relatively modest, apple-shaped standing cup among a group of cups common to the period


Epl-Becher (Apple-shaped Hasidic Kiddush Cup), 18th century, silver, repoussé and engraved, partly gilt, 14×7 cm. Formerly of Dov Ber, the Maggid of Międzyrzecz (1704–1772), according to family tradition. With leaves on stem and three-lobed base; missing cover. Holds volume of 110–120 ml. Private Collection. Photo © Batsheva Goldman-Ida, 2003.

Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), Six Goblets, Dresden Sketchbook, late 1520–21, manuscript: pen on paper, 20×28.5 cm. Dresden, Saxon State and University Library Dresden (Sȁchsische Landesbibliothek).Photo: Courtesy of the Saxon State and University Library, Dresden.

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© 2017 by  Dr. Batsheva Goldman-Ida