(One Little Goat) Chad Gadya (El Lissitzy)

The 1919 Chad Gadya of El Lissitzky is a violent masterpiece that reveals, uniquely and as if once and for all, the brutal visual core at the Jewish world of this dark Passover classic, sung to this day in Aramaic, the language of sitra achra. In this animal world and on the verge of abstraction, everything kills everything until God kills death. The goat, the cat, the dog, the stick, the fire, the water, the ox, the butcher, the Angel of Death. You can see and show in electronic facsimile the complete set of images here. In tension with the expressionist avant-garde brio, the physical object itself is a rare and rarified item, “on thick cream wove paper, from the edition of 75, the colours fresh…mounted on linen, matted, framed and glazed,” as per the site at Christies, which auctioned it. Note that the first images come last in this facsimile version. When you click on the link, it will take you to the bottom which is the opening cover of this left to right Yiiddish book. Utterly bizarre, fire takes the form of a red-hot and angry rooster.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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3 Responses to (One Little Goat) Chad Gadya (El Lissitzy)

  1. Zvi Cohen says:

    Wow. The fire-rooster and the background look very much like a Chagall painting.

  2. Such beautiful images. I love the convex perspective that all of the scenes are given.

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