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A Prayer for a Woman before giving birth, from a Seder Tkhines (ca. 1640-1720)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

Before giving birth, she should say this:

God almighty, judge and justice, you have punished us women with truth and righteousness since the creation of humankind, so that we give birth to our children in pain. It is in your making that when you punish, when we are punished, and when you are merciful, we are graced by Your mercy. God be merciful to me through the merit of all saintly men and women as you have shown mercy to those whose prayers you have accepted when they prayed to you, and called out your name, asking you to open their wombs. You opened their wombs with grace and mercy and allowed them to give birth at their time.

God, our father, you existed before the creation of the world, and you will support the whole world until its end, with great mercy. Silence and subdue the bad angels and banish them from your court. Let them not stand before you and do not accept their words if they speak of my sins and evil deeds. Stop up all the holes in your holy gates so that their voices cannot be heard. But allow the good angels, those who speak well of your children Yisrael to intercede for me, and may they do so with only good words. And take the key to my womb in your right hand, and unlock me without pain, and without suffering, and allow this birth to be free of all harm, without sickness, and without the yetser hara, so my child may from the start be good-natured. Protect me and the child from all evil spirits and evil people, and may the evil eye not harm us.

God almighty, accept my prayer, and take my tears in your vessel like the tears of hannah, whose prayer you granted when you allowed her to speak to you through the prophet, and brought her happiness. God of Yisrael, may it be your desire to accept our tears as you have accepted the tears of other pious women, for you are the one who accepts the prayers of those who call out to you with all their heart. May the speech of my mouth find favor before you, God, my creator and my redeemer.

This is an English translation prepared by Devra Kay for an unidentified tkhine for a pregnant woman (see Devra Kay, Seyder Tekhines: The Forgotten Book of Jewish Prayer for Jewish Women, Jewish Publication Society, 2004, p.162-164). Kay’s scope of tkhine literature spans the period of works published between 1640 and 1720, so we expect the work from which her translation was derived to be attested among the Seder Tkhines of this period. If you can identify the eact text or volume, from which this translation was derived, please contact us.

 


 

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