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תחנות בנות ישראל | Devotions for the Daughters of Israel, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

Teḥinot Banot Yisrael: Devotions for the Daughters of Israel (1852) by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau may be the first collection of teḥinot published for an English speaking audience. Bresslau explains in his preface that his work was translated and adapted “from a Prayer Book in general use throughout Germany.” Alas, he offers no other bibliographic reference for the volume in which his work relied so much upon. (If you think you know, please contact us or leave a comment below.)

This collection of teḥinot follows the publication in French of Imrei Lev: Prières D’un Cœur Israélite (1848) by Jonas Ennery and Rabbi Arnaud Aron — and precedes the publication of Stunden der Andacht (1855), Fanny Neuda’s collection of her teḥinot written in German. All of these express a movement of tkhines literature beyond an audience of vernacular Yiddish readers and into a world of emancipated Jews more fluent in the language of the modernizing states in which they lived.


The want of some compendious form of Family Prayer in the vernacular for the females of our community, has been so long and strongly felt, that little apology is required for undertaking such a compilation in the true spirit of religious devotion, and with due regard to the existing recognised ritual service. The domestic position of females their numerous and arduous duties, particularly in married life and in reference to the physical and moral care of their children, render it a matter of great difficulty for them to recite all the prayers contained in the usual service with that undivided attention demanded by their solemnity; and this often leads to their being entirely neglected. Besides, many prayers which ought to be used on occasions incidental to female life, necessitate the avoidance of prolixity to enhance their soul stirring tendency. The תחינות “Female Devotions,” of former times supplied this desideratum to a certain extent, and editions in a condensed form and corrected language appeared some years since in France, Germany, and Poland. These תחינות met the approval of the most orthodox and conscientious continental Rabbies, being composed in conformity with traditional Judaism and chiefly extracted from Biblical and Talmudical writings, and yet adapted to the spirit of the age.

The imperative necessity of retaining in any authorized Form of Prayers, the original and sacred language—the Hebrew—has been too strongly pronounced to allow infringement on its sanctity; yet in the case of Females a slight relaxation of that rule in so far as regards private devotions, cannot but be productive of beneficial effects: It is hoped, therefore, that as the object of this Publication is not to interfere with the regular order of Hebrew Prayers, but rather to strengthen the inclination to frequent devotion, the religious bearing of this small volume of “Devotions for the Daughters of Israel,” adapted from a Prayer Book in general use throughout Germany, will be correctly understood and duly appreciated. There can be no doubt that its general diffusion in Jewish families will strengthen that love for our Holy religion which forms the crown and glory of the Women of Israel.



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