Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Understanding the Morning Blessings

Not To Be

Almost all of the morning blessings are in the positive, except for three: “who did not create me as a member the other nations of the world” "who did not make me a slave" and (for men) "who did not make me a woman." Why are these blessing phrased negatively?

Our Sages saw fit to establish these three separate blessings in order to give us the opportunity to express our appreciation for every facet of Hashem's kindness. If I would simply thank the One "who made me a Jew," thanking Hashem for not making me a slave or a woman as well would seem superfluous. Additionally we should not say the blessings in reverse order, for the last blessing implies the praise of the first two. Saying these blessings in the negative allows us to recite all three blessings, thus increasing our praise of our Creator (Mishna Berura 46,15).

The Zohar adds deeper meaning to the wording of these blessings. Every night our souls ascend to heaven to be recharged and cleansed for the upcoming day. We thank Hashem that when He returns our neshama to our body that he did not send with it the soul of a non-Jew, slave, or someone of the opposite gender (Magen Avraham 46,9). [See end of essay regarding a woman's blessing.]

Some siddurim cite this blessing with alternative wording: "who did not make me an idol worshiper." Although we are certainly thankful for not practicing idolatry, our gratitude goes beyond this base level. We say "create me as a member the other nations of the world "in order to express that we are happy that we were given the Torah and elevated above all of the nations (Responsa Teshuvos V'hanhagos 1,6).


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

To The Place G-d Will Show Us
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

When Things Don't Go As Planned
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

ArtScroll

Every Drop Matters
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Lech Lecha
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

Outsiders
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Bordering on the Holy Land
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Of Threads and Shoelaces
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

The House that Truth Built
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Ask for Spiritual Wealth
Shlomo Katz - 5762

The Eternal Port of Entry
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

Genuine Kindness
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5765

> Go to the Land of Canaan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

The Internal Journey
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

No Business As Usual
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Once a Jew, Always a Jew
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information