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​Go forth and gaze maidens of Zion – Zeʾenah u-Reʾenah benot Zion – צאינה וראינה בנות ציון



Jud. Germ. 57


Ya'akov ben Yitshak Ashkenazi





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​Go forth and gaze maidens of Zion – Zeʾenah u-Reʾenah benot Zion – צאינה וראינה בנות ציון

From the exhibition "Yiddish and Jewish-German Prints: The collection Judaeo Germanica"

von Tekle Ekvtimishvili, Kerstin von der Krone, Marie-Luise Schmidt

Ze'enah u-Re'enah ("Go forth and gaze"), often referred to as "Weiberbibel" ("Women's Bible"), is considered the most often printed book in Yiddish in the early modern and modern era. It is a compilation of stories from the Torah with further commentary combined with the Haftaroth, the five Megilot and further midrashic tales. Ze'enah u-Re'enah aimed at Jewish women and the unlearned men, i.e. those whose knowledge of Hebrew was not sufficient for the study of rabbinic literature. The title, Ze'enah u-Re'enah benot Zion, refers to a passage in the Song of Songs 3:11. The text was often read within the family on Shabbat. Written by Yaʾakov ben Yitshak Ashkenazi (1550–1628), Ashkenazi nonetheless omitted some religious commandments from the Torah and fashioned his text in a belletristic manner. The first edition was probably early seventeenth century. According to Morris Faierstein at least 275 editions of the Ze'enah u-Re'enah are known today. The copy presented here was printed in 1732 in Sulzbach. University Library Frankfurt holds more than 20 Ze'enah u-Re'enah printed in Amsterdam, Fürth, Sulzbach, Offenbach, Dyhernfurth and other places.

Originally this text was published as part of the online exhibition Jewish Books & Jewish Collections: Treasures of the University Library Frankfurt on the occasion of the 12th Congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt, July 2023.


Ya'akov ben Yitshak Ashkenazi, חמשה חומשי תורה בלשון אשכנז: צאנה וראנה בנות ציון Hamishah humshe Torah bi-leshon Ashkenaz: Zeʾenah u-reʾenah benot Zion. Sulzbach 5492 [1731/32]. Yiddish | Call Numnber: Jud. Germ. 57 | Digital copy via Frankfurt's Digital Judaica Collections.