01 September 2014

Thoughts on She-lo Asani Ishah (ברכת שלא עשני אשה)

Growing up, there were different things in life that I perceived in which I felt grateful that God created me a male and not a female.  The most obvious of these to me was appreciating the ability to urinate wherever (especially outdoors) when I needed to and not needing to sit down.  Moreover, the lines at bathrooms were significantly shorter (or non-existent) for us males, which was nice to be able to take care of one's expulsive business swiftly.  

And, as I grew older, I also did not have to deal with menstruation or carrying a child, let alone giving birth to a child, etc.  I took cognizance of these physical differences and thanked the Lord for not having saddled me with these biological challenges.
As I became an adult, I also noticed social challenges in different societies with being a woman versus being a man, including - but not limited to - the ability to walk (or go jogging) on a street at night and not be so scared of being raped or otherwise assaulted, verbally harassed, etc.

I thank God every day that I do not have to withstand the challenges of being a woman and am doubly thankful that our tradition has a blessing not only for us men to thank our Creator for having done as such, but also that we are able to connect to our Creator in such a way.  
I have never seen this blessing as a way to denigrate women or to express our superiority over them, but simply to acknowledge to God how thankful I am that I don't have to deal with the same challenges as women.