Micrography: The Hebrew Word as Art: The Jewish Experience in 20th Century Postcards

Mahzor Vitry

Compiled by Simha, son of Samuel of Vitry
Scribe: Eliezer, son of Samuel
France? 1204
Micrographic text: Mahzor Vitry
ms. 8092

This volume is the oldest surviving decorated Ashkenazic Hebrew manuscript. Known as the Mahzor Vitry, it is a halakhic and liturgical compendium concerned with the yearly cycle of prayers. The author, Simha of Vitry, lived in the late eleventh century and was a distinguished pupil of the renowned commentator Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (Rashi), many of whose halakhic decisions are reflected in this work. On this page, the scribe has identified himself as Eliezer son of Samuel by creating a calligram in the shape of the letters of his own name. The calligram (lines of text of unequal length written in parallel rows and forming a design) is a continuation of the text of the previous page concerning the laws of the holiday of Sukkot.