Scribe: Judah ben Samuel, called Zaltman, Germany, 1257–58, 16 1/4 x 11 in. (41.3 x 27.9 cm), MS. Mich. 617, one of two volumes, fol. 4b

The Michael Mahzor is the earliest known dated and illustrated "mahzor," a prayer book for Jewish festivals. It is so-named after the nineteenth-century bibliophile Heimann Joseph Michael who once owned it. Its Hebrew square script and the veiling of human faces are typical of medieval Ashkenaz. The upside-down hunting scene may have been a mistake by a Christian artist unfamiliar with Hebrew. Or it may be a reference to the story that in ancient Persia the Jews were saved from destruction—their fate was reversed—in the month of Adar, when this hymn is recited.


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