||Tehinnot (Yiddish prayers), here based on Ma’avar Yabbok, Ma’aneh Lashon, and Sefer ha-Hayyim, works with prayers for the ill and deceased. In this volume the prayers are in two parts. In the first part of the Tehinnot prayers in Hebrew are at the top of the page in vocalized square Hebrew letters. Below it, in Yiddish, set in Vayber Taitsch, is translations and explanatory material. The second part of the book is entirely in Vayber Taitsch.
Tehinnot are usually private devotions, often the source for later public prayers. They are a private, spontaneous and inspired form of expression representing the craving of the soul. They may be understood as in keeping with Berakhot (28b), which states, Do not make your prayer routine, but rather free supplications and petitions before God.” Tehinnot were written through the ages by men of piety; they have been described as a rivulet of that warm and soulful outpouring [that] never ran dry in Israel. They have been written through the generations to express plights, needs, wishes, and aspirations which move the heart. Originally in Hebrew, they have been written in al languages spoken by Jews.
Tehinnot in Yiddish were mainly for women and those unfamiliar with Hebrew. In many cases Tehinnot were published in book form. A number of rabbis, for example, R. Joseph ben Yakar, in the introduction to his siddur (Ichenhausen, 1544), writes, “I consider those people foolish who wish to recite their prayers in Hebrew although they do not understand a word of it. I wonder how they can have any spirit of devotion in their prayers.” Similar thoughts are expressed in a translation of the Mahzor (Amsterdam, 1709).