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Selihot. (Penitential Prayers).

Fragment. Prague: 1512–1515 (1522?).
JMP, inv. no. 178.825, Genizah Holešov.
Found in frame of the primary research by the JMP in the late 1990’s.

A fragment of a previously unknown edition which was bound with a few quires remaining of the 1529 and 1534 Prague mahzorim (prayer books for festivals). Penitential prayers are such an important part of Jewish liturgy, especially during High Holidays, that it would be surprising for Prague printers to publish them only in 1529, i.e. year of publication of the first complete extant edition. We ground our dating of the fragment on typography (use, as initials, of the woodcut ornamented letters from the 1512 siddur), other elements of the typesetting, and the watermarks (similar ones are documented from 1509–1512).
The fragment was preserved thanks to the Jewish custom to store discarded Hebrew books and ritual objects containing Hebrew letters in a safe place where they are left to slow natural decay, in one of the historically most important Moravian communities.

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