Mendl Lefin was one of the outstanding figures of the Enlightenment, an associate of Moses Mendelssohn, translator-adapter of contemporary books on medicine and geography, author of philosophic works and translator of the Tanakh (The Hebrew Scriptures) into colloquial Yiddish. "Lefin's greatness lies in his linguistic achievements. For the first time ordinary daily speech entered into the sphere of the sacred and there showed its beauty and charm." (Yankev Birnboym, Nayer leksikon fun der yidisher literature 5:352) Lefin strove to make written Yiddish an accurate reflection of the spoken language. Only a few of his Tanakh translations have come down to us. His Koheleth was first published after his death in Odessa in 1873. We give that version as presented by Zalmen Reyzen in his Fun mendelson biz mendele (Warsaw 1923, pp. 163-179). We also give the first chapter of the Tarnopol manuscript (1819) as reprinted by the Yivo in 1930, and in Standard Yiddish orthography as well.

Seyfer Koheles: first printed version

Appendix A: First chapter of the manuscript version

Appendix B: Text of appendix A in Yivo orthography

Texts prepared by Roland Gruschka.