Obj. ID: 38826
Jewish printed books Chamishah Chumshei Torah. Tzeena u-Reenah Bnot Tzion by Ya'akov ben Yitzhak me-Yanov, Amsterdam, 1714
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 boo was named "Tzeen Ureena" 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, Haftarot and the Megillot. The Tzeena Ureena 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 nuimberous editiosn issued over tiem 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 interst of the readers. This edition is unillustrated. The usual printings of this book were also in a smaller format. This is unusually large for this book.
Isaac Hezekiah ben Jacob de Cordova came from a Sephardic family with a printing trade tradition. His father Jacob Chaim de Cordova was born in Brazil, and following his arrival in Amsterdam learned the the printing trade and worked at several Jewish presses there. From c.1706 Isaac printed Hebrew and Spanish books at his own press. In 1709 he moved his press to Hamburg where he purchased some more printing equipment. He printed a total of 6 works in Hamburg before returning to Amsterdam and resuming operations there in 1714. He remained in the printing business for a further 15 years, until 1730, both printing and selling books. From time to time he printed in Yiddish as well.
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);
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