Worms Illuminated Mahzor

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     The Mahzor of Worms is among the oldest known prayer books written for the Ashkenazic rite and an excellent testimony to Jewish book illumination in the Middle Ages. A Mahzor (Hebrew for cycle) contains the prayers used at high festivals and thus constitutes a collection of festival prayers for liturgical use. The Mahzor of Worms was produced in 1272 on the Rhine and used by the cantors of Worms for more than 650 years as their ”official” festival prayer book.
     While the early manuscripts of this type were only sparsely illustrated, the Mahzor of Worms develops a very special decoration pattern. Virtually all festivals are illustrated to accompany the relevant text. These illuminated scenes reflect the life of the Ashkenazic community of this period and their world of thought.

The Gates of Heaven

     The Hebrew letters ShORY, meaning The Gates of or Portal of, are illuminated by an open gateway. The illustration frames the Yom Kippur prayer which begins “He who opens the Gate of mercy for us.”

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Sheqlim - Prayer

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Rose Flower Prayer Introduction

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