Haggadah Shel Pesach – The Yosef Yusfa Haggadah

Author: Rav Yosef Yuzfa Menatzpach Shamesh zt”l

Rav Yosef Yusfa Menaztpach Schammes was born in 1603 in Fulda, Germany. Rav Schammes studied under Rav Pinchas Horowitz (of Prague, not to be confused with the Rav Pinchas Horowitz of Frankfurt, famed author of Haflah) in his hometown of Fulda. In 1623, he traveled to Worms to study under the great luminary Rav Eliyahu Loanz, a renowned kabbalist more commonly known as Rabbeinu Eliyahu Baal Shem. At some point after settling in Worms, Rav Schammes received the position of caretaker (schammes) of the Shul; it seems that his surname is sourced from this position. This appointment included not only communal interaction but also the city scribe and ritual slaughterer. Being so involved in the operation of this ancient Kehilla gave Rav Schammes a unique opportunity to document the customs of the community. These notes became known as the Minhagbuch, but was only published after Rav Schammes’s passing in 1678. This composition was considered so important, that Rav Yair Chaim Bachrach, author of Chavos Yair, wrote notations on the entire work. Today it can be found under the title Minhagei Vermaiza.

Rav Schammes is known to have composed other works as well, however, a very special composition has remained hidden from public view for over 400 years. An unpublished manuscript containing a detailed explanation of Tefillah, Birchas Hamazon, Pirkei Avos, and the Passover Haggadah titled Lekutei Yosef has been stored in private collections over the centuries. These explanatory notes contain a duel perspective; often focused on the basic explanation of the text, yet numerous compelling thoughts steeped in Kabbalistic ideas are spread throughout the work.

Achsanya Shel Torah has the unique privilege to bring this valuable work to print for the first time and available to the public. The Yosef Yusfa Haggadah is available for purchase through Achsanya Shel Torah.