Dreyzl, Leah

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DREYZL, LEAH (second half of 18th century), composer of tkhines (Yiddish prayers). Dreyzl lived in Stanislav, Poland, and came from a distinguished family. Her great-grandfather was Ḥakham Ẓevi *Ashkenazi (1660–1718) and several of her male relatives were rabbis and scholars. Leah Dreyzl married Rabbi Aryeh Leib Auerbach, who became the rabbi at Stanislav and was closely associated with the burgeoning Ḥasidic movement. He was believed to be an intimate of the Baal Shem Tov.

It is clear from her own writings that Leah Dreyzl was educated. The two tkhines she is known to have written are filled with biblical references and lines from the prayer book, and are permeated with mystical overtones. They were published posthumously, probably during the 19th century, and were named (by the publisher) "Tkhine es rotsn" ("Tkhine of a Time of [Divine] Favor") and "Tkhine Sha'arei Teshuvah" ("Tkhine of the Gates of Repentance"). An introduction to the published edition credits "Mistress Hena…widow of the departed…Rabbi David Tsvi," with passing down these writings "from her mother-in-law, the righteous, pious, renowned rabbi's wife, Mistress Leah Dreyzel." Both of these poems, written for the penitential month of Elul, easily lend themselves to oral recitation. This has led literary analysts to conclude that Leah Dreyzl was a firzogerin in the Stanislav synagogue, leading the women's congregation in prayer.


E. Taitz, S. Henry, and C. Tallan, The jps Guide to Jewish Women: 600 b.c.e.1900 c.e. (2003), 143; C. Weissler, Voices of the Matriarchs: Listening to the Prayers of Early Modern Jewish Women (1998), 26–28.

[Emily Taitz (2nd ed.)]