Life-Cycle > Women's prayers
Manuscript in Hebrew and Judeo-Italian on paper.
Italy, ca. 18th century.
MS X893 J554
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This book was written for an 18th-century Italian woman, and it contains poignant blessings and prayers specifically associated with women. The book records special benedictions asking God to have mercy on the woman’s family and to protect her household, which she would have recited after lighting Sabbath candles and separating the ḥallah. In the special prayer for a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy, she asks that she not go into labor on the Sabbath, so that no one will need to desecrate the holy day on her behalf. These prayers give us insight into the woman’s self-perception of her religious life: intimately connected to God and well-aware of her particular role as a woman, her thoughts and prayers are selfless and family-oriented.
Gift of Stephen Wise, from the library of Aaron Wise, 1900.