Ask the rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Morning Blessings

’Boruch...shelo osani isha?

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Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

12 Tishrei 5766
Question
Why do we say this in Shachris prayer? What was the original purpose in adding it to the prayers? And who instituted it? In this day and age, is it permissible to change it?
Answer
Two reasons are generally given: 1. Men thank HaShem for the mitzvot that they must perform, from which women are exempt. 2. Men thnk HaShem for being spared the pain of childbirth. In either case, the blessing which women say (she'osani k'rtzono" - who made me as His will) indicates that woman was created in accordance with the Divine wish. According to the MaHaRal she is exempt from certain mitzvot because of a woman's innate spiritual nature. The pain of childbirth indicates participation in the act of creation. I believe it is incorrect to change the texts of prayers. Certainly there is nothing innate about our day and age that changes the blessing. There are various ways of approaching the relationship between man and woman but attitudes have a way of chnging, and changing prayers on the basis of current attitudes would likely create a divergency of liturgy that would undermine certain aspects of Jewish unity. I believe that if an individual has dificulty with a specific prayer he/she may want to omit it on a temporary basis.
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