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A Prayer for a Pregnant Woman to Say when She Wishes for an Easy Labor (ca. early 17th c.)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

The prayer that a pregnant woman should say when she wishes for an easy labor:

May it be your will, God, my god, and god of my forefathers, to ease the suffering of my pregnancy, and increase my strength every day of my pregnancy, so I do not weaken.

And strengthen my baby against all worldly troubles, and protect me from the curse of Ḥavah: “you shall bear children with sorrow.”[1]Genesis 3:16.

And may my pregnancy run its full course, and may my labor not begin before its time, and may my baby enter the air of this world quickly and easily, without injury to myself or to my baby.

And may it be born at a good hour, and a lucky hour, to live in joy. And may it have good health and grace, and honor and riches, and not be an exile from your land. And may you reckon his days in full complement.

And may my husband and I always lead a good life in your service, according to the teachings of your holy Torah. And may neither I, nor my baby be harmed, and may my baby not be without limbs, without flesh or without organs, and may my body receive no injury.

Increase my strength, and strengthen my mood and my bones, for as the verse says: “God will heal your body and refresh your bones.”[2]Proverbs 3:8.

I wish to be strengthened by God’s healing, so I pray that you will answer me, God, my god. And I wish to be happy with God’s help. Protect me, God, my god, hurry to my aid, hurry to help me, God, my helper. Hear my voice, be merciful, and answer me through the righteousness and the learning of our holy forefathers and their good deeds. And may all the world invoke their love.

And bless me, and let my seed live, and protect me from death and miscarriage, and from all illness and pain, and bless me as you promised us in your holy torah, through the hand of Mosheh your servant. As the verse says: “and he will love you and bless you and will bless the fruit in your belly.”[3]Deuteronomy 7:13.

May you bless me and answer me, and lengthen my days with sweetness, as the verse says: “long days will I give you, and I will show you my help.”[4]cf. Psalms 91:16.

Amen and amen.

This is an English translation prepared by Devra Kay from an unpublished manuscript containing tkhines for a pregnant woman (see Devra Kay, Seyder Tekhines: The Forgotten Book of Jewish Prayer for Jewish Women, Jewish Publication Society, 2004, p.201-203). The manuscript can be found in the Bodleian Library, Shelfmark Opp 666, and is listed in Adolph Neubauer’s 1886 catalog of Hebrew manuscripts in the Bodleian Library’s collection as “Occasional prayers in Hebrew-German cursive characters [incomplete]. Ashkenaz, early 17th century.” Devra Kay argues that “all the pages are there and can be rearranged to form a complete book” possibly an early antecedent to the Seder Tkhines. Unfortunately, a transcription of the manuscript was not published along with Kay’s translation. If you can provide such a transcription, or help with obtaining a digital copy of this manuscript, please contact us.

 


 

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Genesis 3:16.
  2. Proverbs 3:8.
  3. Deuteronomy 7:13.
  4. cf. Psalms 91:16.

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