This past week I had the good fortune of being able to broker a sale of an exciting discovery, a hitherto unknown manuscript prayer in the handwriting of the Hid”a, Haim Yosef David Azulai (1724 – 1 March 1806). Written entirely in the Hid”a’s hand and composed by him, this being the only known source of this specific prayer, a prayer for a woman in labor to recite for an easy and pain-free birth.
A translation of part of the prayer: “May it be the will of Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, may you be filled with compassion for all the pregnant women among the daughters of Israel, and specifically for me, your maidservant. May you relieve from us the pain of labor, may we be healthy and well and may our strength and the strength of our fetus stay strong. May our pregnancy reach its end without any harm to us or our fetus. While in childbirth, in your mercy, may you relieve from us the birth pains and may we birth in ease in good timing and may you bestow good fortune on us, our husbands and the infant, for a healthy and peaceful life…”
In Sansan Leyair published by the Hid”a first in 1794, a version of this prayer appears but from a man’s perspective, of a man praying on his wife’s behalf. In this original manuscript, the Hid”a wrote the prayer for the woman herself, to allow her to pray and beseech G-d on her own behalf.