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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 10Jews in Early Modern Poland$
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Gershon David Hundert

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774310

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774310.001.0001

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‘For the Human Soul is the Lamp of the Lord’: The Tkhine for ‘Laying Wicks’ by Sarah bas Tovim

‘For the Human Soul is the Lamp of the Lord’: The Tkhine for ‘Laying Wicks’ by Sarah bas Tovim

(p.40) ‘For the Human Soul is the Lamp of the Lord’: The Tkhine for ‘Laying Wicks’ by Sarah bas Tovim
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 10

Chava Weissler

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the tkhines, the primarily female genre of Yiddish supplicatory prayers. While it is difficult to reconstruct the religious lives of Jewish women in any pre-modern era, one important window into the piety of Jewish women in eighteenth-century Poland is through the tkhines. The chapter considers the work of one author of tkhines, the most famous of them all, Sarah bas Tovim. It begins by discussing what can be gleaned about Sarah from her two authentic tkhine collections, and then go on to focus on the most beloved portion of one of them, her tkhine for making candles of wicks used to measure graves in the cemetery. The chapter then provides a comparison of this tkhine with other contemporaneous material to elucidate the meaning of the ritual and the tkhine that accompanies it.

Keywords:   tkhines, Yiddish supplicatory prayers, religious life, Jewish women, piety, Poland, Sarah bas Tovim

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