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Sarah bat Tovim (alt. Sore bas Toyvim, fl. late 17th/early 18th century), daughter of Mordecai (or daughter of Isaac or Jacob, as sometimes listed on the title pages of various editions of her works), of Satanov in Podolia, in present-day Ukraine, great-granddaughter of Rabbi Mordecai of Brisk (on this, all editions agree), became the emblematic tkhine [q.v.] author, and one of her works, Shloyshe sheorim, perhaps the most beloved of all tkhines. An elusive figure, in the course of time she took on legendary proportions; indeed, some have insisted that she never existed. The fact that the name of her father (although not her great-grandfather) changes from edition to edition of her work, and the unusual circumstance that no edition mentions a husband, make it difficult to document her life. In fact, the skepticism about Sarah’s existence is rooted in the older scholarly view that no tkhines were written by women authors, and that all of them were maskilic fabrications. Since a number of women authors have now been historically authenticated, there seems no reason to doubt that there was a woman, probably known as Sore bas Toyvim who composed most or all of the two eighteenth-century texts attributed to her. Rather unusually for the genre of tkhines, her works contain a strong autobiographical element: She refers to herself as “I, the renowned woman Sore bas toyvim, of distinguished ancestry” and tells the story of her fall from a wealthy youth to an old age of poverty and wandering, a fall she attributes to the sin of talking in synagogue. (from the article at the Jewish Woman's Archive by Dr. Chava Weissler)


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