This text was prepared by William Gross:
Most Jewish women of the 17th and 18th centuries were unable to read Hebrew, but were familiar with Yiddish. At the same time almost all editions of the Bible were published in Hebrew. There arose a popular literature of Bible stories for women in the Yiddish language. This book was named "Tzeena u-Reena" and was published in many editions, particularly in Southern Germany.
This book is a miscellany of Midrashic tales and exegetical commentary, woven around a Yiddish rendering and paraphrasing of the Chumash, Haphtaroth and the Megillot. The Tzeena u-Reena is the most renowned Yiddish work of homiletical prose and has been particularly beloved by generations of Jewish women. Written in a lucid, flowing style, the numerous editions issued over time has resulted in that the text of the book has become a laboratory in researching the development of the Yiddish language.
The book was often illustrated with charming woodcuts to keep the interest of the readers. It is perhaps an indication of the popularity of this book that there were two editions published in 1799 in Sulzbach by the printer, Zeckel ben Aharon. They are essentially the same book with the exception of a different titlepage. The other example is in the Gross Family collection, B.2453.
EJ; M. Erik, Geshikhte fun der Yidisher Literatur (1928), 223–30; Milly Heyd, “Illustrations in Early Editionms of the tsenbe-u’Rene”, Jewish Art X 1984 pp. 64-86; JE; Ch. Lieberman, in: Yidishe Shprakh, 26 (1966), 33–38; 29 (1969), 73–76; Ch. Shmeruk, in: For Max Weinreich on his Seventieth Birthday (1964);