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“Had Gadya” by Yaacov Agam

Please check details of “Had Gadya” by Yaacov Agam

Had Gadya is a Jewish Passover song written in Aramaic. Traditionally, everyone at the table sings it at the end of the post-meal ceremonies on the first and second evenings of Passover. In particular, it is a cumulative poem, in each stanza a new detail appears and the hero changes. Each verse starts with “One little goat” and then finally in the last paragraph “The Holy One, Blessed be He” kills the angel of death. Thus, the message of the song is, that the G-d of Israel is a ruler, who governs the world and all creatures.


According to one of interpretations, Had Gadya names nations that have conquered the Land of Israel: The goat symbolizes the Jewish people; the cat – Assyria; the dog – Babylon; the stick – Persia; the fire – Macedonia; the water – Roman Empire; the ox – the Saracens; the slaughterer – the Crusaders; the angel of death – the Turks. At the end, G-d directs Jews back to Israel. 

Yaacov Agam illustrated three last paragraphs in his “Had Gadya”. The first one – the slaughter (Shohet) is characterized by the knife. The drop of blood refers, probably, to the specific rules of shechita and mitzvahs such as the covering of the blood. In the second part, the artist has depicted an angel of death, the accent on geometrical forms is peculiar to Agam’s art. The artist conveyed G-d through lightnings.

Yaacov Agam is famous for unique kinetic and optical artwork, inter alia, for three-dimensional paintings and sculptures. Especially one type of prints, that uses barrier-grid animation, has its name after the artist – “Agamograph”. 

In addition, some blogs about his art in our gallery: “The Agam Mezuzah”“Kiddush Cup” “The Bible”“Megillaht Ester” and Geometrics.

Please find our selection of artworks by Yaacov Agam

Also, El Lissitzky, a famous avant-garde artist, had done several versions of illustrations to “Had Gadya”. The secular Yiddish organization Kultur Lige, founded by Lissitzky together with Natan Altman and David Shterenberg, published his lithographs in book form in 1919.

Kings Gallery is a leading fine art gallery established in Jerusalem in 1995. We strive to collect and sell the highest quality historic and contemporary Israeli and International art. Especially, the gallery specializes in artists from the early period of the 1920’s. In addition, Kings allery features leading up-and-coming young artists who will definitely be prominent names in the next few years.

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