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Aaron ben Samuel


AARON BEN SAMUEL (of Hergerhausen ; 1665–c. 1732), author of Liebliche Tefillah, a volume of prayers and supplications in Yiddish. Aaron was an orphan supported by charity. Later he was a distiller of brandy for sale in his tavern. He had little schooling, but in 1709 he came to the conclusion that prayers should be recited in the current Jewish vernacular (Yiddish-Taitch) since the public was ignorant of Hebrew, and in pursuit of this aim published (Frankfurt a-M., 1709) his Liebliche Tefillah in that language and in his introduction urges that children be taught to pray in that language. It consists of selections from the Prayer Book, Psalms, and a number of personal supplications which include "a beautiful prayer for a servant or maid" and one "…for husband and wife that they live in harmony."

The book was completely forgotten but in 1846 Leopold Stein published an article in which he stated that some 20 years previously thousands of copies had been found in the attics of synagogues and buried. This gave rise to the statement that the book was placed under a ban of the rabbis because it advocated Reform, but despite intensive research no evidence of any such ban has been found and it is probable that the book simply did not take on.


A. Shohat, Im Ḥilufei Tekufot (1960); M. Piekarz, in: Die Goldene Keyt, 49 (1964), 168; M. Weinreich, History of Yiddish (1973); M. Klarberg, in: Working Papers, yivo (1980) with bibliography. add. bibliography: M. Erik, Di Geshikhte fun der Yiddisher Literatur fun di Eltste Tsaytn biz der Haskole-Tkufe (1929), 212–14.

[Manfred Klarberg]

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