Oldest Siddur in Existence Discovered

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oldest-siddurA 1,200-year-old parchment siddur that is billed as the oldest in existence was introduced Sept. 27 by a prominent private collector of Biblical artifacts.

The complete 50-page book with original 13-by-10 centimeter binding features early Babylonian vowels, which are a precursor to modern Hebrew vowels. Those, along with Carbon-14 dating, helped scholars arrive at the 9th-century date, which would make the siddur several hundred years older than the oldest Sifrei Torah, although later than the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“This is the oldest Jewish prayer book known to exist in the world,” said Steven Green, the president of the retail chain Hobby Lobby, announcing the identification at the Religion Newswriters Association conference here. Read more here.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. “A Different World”

    25 Tishrei 5774

    On Elul 13 (Aug 18th), Moishe’la said to his family: “…I would even predict that by the time Succos is over, by the time they put back the Torahs after dancing on Simchas Torah and say Havdolah it will be a different world.”

    On August 21st, an alleged sarin gas attack in Syria caused the world to erupt. Russia and the US squared off, China joined in, warships were converging in the Mediterranean Sea. Iran was as belligerent as ever. By the second week of September, President Obama looked poised to launch a retaliatory military strike against Syria.

    The world stood on the brink of WW3. In the ensuing hours and days, Obama lost the backing of key allies and announced he would let Congress decide. Then Russian President Putin appeared to out-maneuver Obama and called for Syria to give up its WMDs, to which Assad agreed.

    By the end of the Sukkot holiday, Syria was completely off the hook, President Putin looked like the ‘second coming,’and Iran’s Rouhani has charmed the world with his diplomatic moves towards restoring relations with Washington.

    In his September 24th speech to the UN General Assembly, Rouhani said:
    …What has been – and continues to be – practiced against the innocent people of Palestine is nothing less than structural violence. Palestine is under occupation; the basic rights of the Palestinians are tragically violated, and they are deprived of the right of return and access to their homes, birthplace and homeland. Apartheid as a concept can hardly describe the crimes and the institutionalized aggression against the innocent Palestinian people.

    On the same day, US President Obama said in his own speech to the UNGA:

    …In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Arab- Israeli conflict. While these issues are not the cause of all the region’s problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.”

    As if Israeli refusal to commit territorial suicide is an equal threat to world stability as Iran’s nuclear capability.

    Obama continued. With regard to Iran, he said:
    “…We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course, and given President Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.”

    While with regard to Israel:

    “…We are also determined the resolve a conflict that goes back even further than our differences with Iran, and that is the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. … I believe there’s a growing recognition within Israel that the occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the democratic fabric of the Jewish state. …the United States remains committed to the belief that the Palestinian people have a right to live with security and dignity in their own sovereign state. On the same trip, I had the opportunity to meet with young Palestinians in Ramallah, whose ambition and incredible potential are matched by the pain they feel and having no firm place in the community of nations. They are understandably cynical that real progress will ever be made, and they’re frustrated by their families enduring the daily indignity of occupation.”

    The day after Simchat Torah in Israel and second day Yom Tov in the Diaspora, this is what the US President had to say about Iran, which as you will recall, was just a few days prior to this, one of the two most intractable problems in the Middle East:

  2. ???
    Who’s Moishe’la?
    And what does anything he may have said have to do with this amazing siddur? (I would love to see it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one!)
    From August 18 to Isru Chag, 6 entire weeks passed. You would have a hard time finding a 6 week period that does not include any major political, diplomatic, and/or economic changes in the world.
    Is #1’s comment just one long typo?
    Or just an unintelligible rant?

  3. the palestinians have a right to live with dignity and the Israelis don’t?!?! I know that the Ribono shel Olam put that man in the position he is for a reason; I just wish we knew what we are supposed to learn from this reign of terror

  4. To comment #2 – you are joking right? nusach sefard isn’t even 250 years old! This siddur is from 1000 years before that.

    The split between ashkenaz (jews and minhagim from eretz yisroel via Byzantium and Italy and hen into S. Germany and France) and sefard (jews from Bavel and N.Africa and then Spain) was just happening.

    If I had to guess this is from the Cairo Geniza and represents either a version of R.Amram’s siddur from Bavel or a siddur from a member of the Eretz Yisroel kehila living in Cairo. But I guess we will find out more…


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