Cover image for Seyder tkhines : the forgotten book of common prayer for Jewish women
Seyder tkhines : the forgotten book of common prayer for Jewish women
Kay, Devra.
Uniform Title:
Seyder tkhines. English.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : The Jewish Publication Society, 2004.
Physical Description:
xiii, 269 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes English translation and discussion of Book of tkhines for a pregnant woman, a 17th century Yiddish and Hebrew manuscript in the Bodleian library.
Commentary. Introducing tkhines -- Profit and prayer: women and a unique pan-European printing industry -- The Seyder tkhines: a book for a messianic age -- Seyder tkhines: definitions -- Side by side by seyder -- A rare manuscript lost and found: Book of tkhines for a pregnant woman -- Other Yiddish prayers and religious songs and their authors -- Seyder tkhines in the twenty-first century: the messianic inheritance -- Prayers in translation. The Seyder tkhines -- Daily tkhines -- Sabbath tkhines -- Nide tkhines -- Fast-day tkhines -- Four Graveside tkhines -- New Year tkhines and Day of Atonement tkhines -- Book of tkhines for a pregnant woman -- Single prayers and songs in tkhine language -- Sabbath prayer / Khane Katz -- How good (Ma toyvu) / Khane Katz -- Simkhes toyre song / Rivkke Tiktiner -- A tkhine to be said before kedushe / Beyle Hurvits -- A song of the Ten commandments / Sheyndele, wife of Gershon ben Shmuel -- Song (lid) / Yankev ben Elyohu -- Father, king / Toybe Pan -- Daily tkhine (an extract) / Rokhl, daughter of Mordkhe Soyfer.
Title Subject:
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Book of tkhines for a pregnant woman.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM675.T4 Z554 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Seyder Tkhines , translated from its original Yiddish by noted tkhines scholar, Devra Kay, and centerpiece of this groundbreaking work, was a standard Yiddish prayer book for women. It first appeared in Amsterdam in 1648, and continued to be published for the next three generations, usually inside the Hebrew synagogue prayer book. A product of an age when mysticism pervaded mainstream Judaism, the Seyder Tkhines provided women with newly composed, alternative daily prayers that were more specific to their needs. Included in this volume is a unique Yiddish manuscript dating from the 17th century - a collection of prayers written specifically for a rich, pregnant woman, which Kay discovered among the rare books of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.

Now, for the first time, these prayers have been skillfully translated and brought to public view. In addition to her translations, Kay presents her own extensive commentary, providing a deeper understanding of the historic, religious, and cultural background of this period in Jewish history. This unparalleled book will have special appeal to those interested in the social, literary, and religious history of women, as well as the history of the Yiddish language and literature. The interest in these forgotten prayers and their significance to the lives of women has now been revived, and these tkhines are ready to be rediscovered by a modern readership.

Author Notes

Devra Kay received her doctorate from Oxford University, England, where she was the first full-time lector in Yiddish. She was a research fellow and the first director of Yiddish and Ashkenazic Studies at Queen Mary and Westfield College, London University. She currently works at the House of Commons

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

According to Kay, ?Jewish women today who are seeking a precedent for women?s prayer need look no further? than the ?seyder thkines,? or Yiddish prayer books for women that were popular in the mid- to late 17th century. Now largely forgotten, these works of popular piety emerged in a time of remarkable messianic expectation and fervent holiness. Kay, who began researching these prayer books for her doctoral dissertation, writes that the prayer books flourished for approximately three generations and had no precedents in the history of Jewish prayer, since they were vernacular prayers written by and for women. Kay traces the development of the cottage industry of these prayer books, which proved to be financially profitable for printers and spiritually beneficial for women, who did not participate in many of the male-oriented rituals in the synagogue. Particularly interesting is a prayer book written specifically for an unnamed pregnant woman, who is encouraged to repent of her sins and be ever-ready for a possible departure from this world. One prayer explicitly beseeches God for an easy labor and a safe delivery. Kay does readers a great service by collecting these historic prayers into this volume and providing helpful commentary. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Kay's reclamation of this nearly lost tradition in Jewish writing and practice is a great accomplishment. The tkhines were prayers directed to, in the voices of, and most likely written by Jewish women, and the tradition seems to have begun as early as the 17th century. Kay's translations are flat and even awkward ("God Almighty You have punished we [sic] women" is a notable gaffe), but her brief commentaries, which discuss the significance of the tkhines in a newly literate and keenly Messianic moment in European Jewish culture, are intelligent and valuable. While much more remains to be said about these women's prayers, Kay's work is a fine introduction. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Pronunciation of Yiddish and Hebrew Wordsp. xiii
Part 1 Commentary
Chapter 1 Introducing Tkhinesp. 3
Chapter 2 Profit and Prayer: Women and a Unique Pan-European Printing Industryp. 15
Chapter 3 The Seyder Tkhines: A Book for a Messianic Agep. 33
Chapter 4 Seyder Tkhines: Definitionsp. 49
Chapter 5 Side by Side by Seyderp. 71
Chapter 6 A Rare Manuscript Lost and Found: Book of Tkhines for a Pregnant Womanp. 87
Chapter 7 Other Yiddish Prayers and Religious Songs and Their Authorsp. 95
Chapter 8 Seyder Tkhines in the Twenty-First Century: The Messianic Inheritancep. 113
Part 2 Prayers in Translation
The Seyder Tkhinesp. 125
Daily Tkhinesp. 125
Sabbath Tkhinesp. 148
Nide Tkhinesp. 157
Fast-Day Tkhinesp. 165
Four Graveside Tkhinesp. 175
New Year and Day of Atonement Tkhinesp. 181
Book of Tkhines for a Pregnant Womanp. 185
Single Prayers and Songs in Tkhine Languagep. 217
Sabbath prayer. Khane Katsp. 217
How good (Ma Toyvu). Khane Katsp. 219
Simkhes Toyre song. Rivke Tiktinerp. 221
A tkhine to be said before Kedushe. Beyle Hurvitsp. 224
A song of the Ten Commandments. Sheyndelep. 225
Song (Lid). Yankev ben Elyohup. 230
Father, King. Toybe Panp. 236
Daily tkhine (An extract). Rokhl Soyferp. 243
Glossaryp. 247
Bibliographyp. 253
General Referencesp. 253
Printings of the Seyder Tkhinesp. 261
Other Tkhines and Related Yiddish Worksp. 262
Undated Tkhinesp. 264
Indexp. 265