Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Praising the Creator for His Investment in Me

Then there are three brachos we are required to make every day.  Even an onein who is patur from brachos until after an afternoon k'vura, would still make these brachos.  The three required brachos are: "she'lo asani goy", "she'lo asini eved", and either "she'lo asani isha" or "she'asini kirtzono" (depending on that flavor Jew  you are).  (O.Ch. 46:4)  The Mishna Brura says to be careful not to say "she'asani yisrael" (which is mistakenly printed in some siddurim, apparently) because then there are those who say that you can no longer make the brachos of  "she'lo asani goy" and "she'lo asini eved".  (s.k. 15)   But if "sh'asani yisrael" works b'di'avad, why isn't that the l'chatchila format of the bracha?  Another question: since chazal apparently didn't mind making a different brach for women than men, why don't women say "shelo asani goya" and "shelo asani shifcha"?  (Yes, I know there is at least one siddur that has that nusach.  I know of no source for those, and so am dismissing them from the discussion.  If you can find a reliable source, I would love to see it.)

I think the first order of business is to understand why we don't simply say "sh'asani yisrael" and be done with it.  Suppose someone gave you $1,00,000.00 start up money; you can do a lot with a cool million, even now a days.  Then, after about a few months you have have gone through his entire investment and have essentially nothing to show for it.  Just how excited are you going to be to remind him about his investment in you when you see him?  More than that, is he going to be excited about you running around telling everyone that he had so much faith in you that he actually invested a million dollars with you?  They are more like to think "sucker" or "easy mark", than "ba'al tzedaka".

Some of you may recall that I once worked out that you are getting more than $10,000 in goods and services from HaShem every single day.  (See "Cost of Living"; which predates "Thought for the Day" and was written Elul Z'man 5767 or so.)  Now think... what do you have to show for it.  Right.  Which means that getting up and declaring "Baruch atah HaShem, Elokeinu Melech haOlam, she'asani yisrael" (which b'di'avad works) is at least embarrassing and at worst insulting.  (I winced just writing it.)

So, instead we praise and thank HaShem for the opportunities He gives us by recognizing what distinguishes us.  We are not goyim -- we are attached to HaKadosh Baruch Hu and are partners in creation.  We are not slaves -- we are free to work on our avodas HaShem according to our own discretion, and not by hiding behind a human master.  As Jews, men and women have been put into partnership.  The women setting the direction and providing potential, the man carrying out the mission.  At this point, therefore, it is finally appropriate to have gender specific brachos.  A man, continuing the pattern says, "shelo asini isha" -- who did not give me the job of a (free, Jewish) woman.  The woman's bracha, reflecting her more passive role as an enabler, says, "she'asini kirtzono" -- who made me to enable His Will to be realized.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…