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Incunabulum (incunabula, in the plural) is a Latin word meaning diaper or cradle. The term refers to books published during the early years following the invention of printing, approximately in the period 1445-1500. It is usually assumed that some 35,000 books were printed during this period, of which over 200 were in Hebrew. Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah is the first Hebrew-language book whose place (Italy) and date (5235) of printing are specifically stated in the work itself.

Incunabula are rare books of great historical and cultural value, and accordingly they are priceless.
The casts used for Hebrew printing were based on the manuscripts of contemporary scribes. Printed Hebrew letters were first used in 1446.

Pointing (Nikkud) – the earliest Hebrew books were printed without the vowel points, probably due to technological limitations. The first attempt to print a pointed book came in 5237 in Bologna, where the first part of the Book of Psalms appeared in a printed edition with vowel points.

Printing of secular works – the first Hebrew books on non-religious themes were printed in Brescia​ in 5251-5252 by Gershom Soncino Books. Not a single Hebrew book was printed in the period 5258-5262. It has been hypothesized that this hiatus was due to the disasters that befell the Jewish people around the turn of the sixteenth century.