Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A 19th Century Hebrew Manuscript Prayer: Please G-d, May my wife not give birth on the Sabbath

I found recently an interesting handwritten prayer, seems to be c1860, perhaps from Germany. It is a lengthy prayer that a husband recites asking G-d that his wife have an easy birth and the child should be born healthy. Between the various requests for the health of the expecting woman, is written
 ושלא תלד אשתי בשבת שלא יצטרכו לחלל שבת חס ושלום בשבילה
"That my wife shall not give birth on the Sabbath, so that we shall not need to transgress the Shabbat for her"

The source for this custom is the Sefer Hasidim, siman 773 which states: מי שאשתו מעוברת והגיע חודש התשיעי, יתפלל שלא תלד בשבת,  שלא יחללו שבת. וכן על בתו וכלתו. ואחד היה מתפלל במנחה בערב  שבת שלא תפול דליקה
 בשבת, ושלא תלדנה הנשים בשבת״

The first mention I found of a printed version of such a prayer, appears in the Kitzur Shelah and a bit later in a different version appeared in the rather rare Kabbalistic Prayerbook, published by R.Aryeh Leib b. Mordecai Epstein (1705–1775) in 1765.

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