Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Non Discriminatory Brachot - Blessings.

Frankel’s Rambam Ahavah finally came out a few weeks ago and it is fantastic. One of its most attractive features to me is the addition of the Pirush of Rabeinu Manoach. As I am learning Hilchot Tefilah, I came across a very interesting comment about the Berachot (blessings) Shelo Assani Goy (Akum) – Shelo Assani Aved and Shelo Assani Isha – Blessing God for not making me a gentile, a slave and a woman respectively. He explains that as we are expected to encounter one of those three in our daily endeavors, we are reminded that we are not one of them so that we should keep our distance and not become too intimate with any of them.

He says it without any sense of apologetics. I never heard this perspective and thought it quite enlightening. As I keep on saying the Rishonim were really broad – Libam Kepitcho Shel Ulam.


  1. I'd have to agree with you that the thought that we should keep our distance from nonJews, slaves, and women is not apologetic in the least.

  2. I didn't mean it entirely to be cute. The term apologetics generally refers to a discourse in which one tries to show the surface, apparently offensive meaning of a stand is not what it appears to be. One reveals a deeper, and usually less offensive meaning.

    Saying that the meaning of the 'shelo asani' prayers is that we should keep our distance from such people is not, for me, an apologetic at all, because the proposed deeper meeting is more offensive to me than the pshat.

  3. Larry, I think you misunderstood. The way R. Manoach explains it that because we meet women through our work, when we remember that we are from the opposite sex we will be careful and not get too intimate and thereby be over on arayot. The same with goy and eved. It is not a value judgement just a factual reminder.

    Thet is why i thought you were making a joke.

  4. Sorry,

    I am no fan of Frankel's version, as he purposefully places/chooses to stick with the corrupted European version of the text, while throwing the older (historically less censored) Yemenite version into tiny (hard to find) notes at the back of the book. At least, that's how it was in the last version I saw. Regarding what you say, can you point out the specific verese in the Hilkoth Tefila.

    Little Eagle

  5. > am no fan of Frankel's version,

    You are right and also ignores rav Kook and Rav Kafih at least by name. I was quoting Rabbeinu Manoach on shelo assani goy.I am away so i dont have Rambam in front of me but whatever the language akum, goy or nachri is irreklevant the same explanation would work.