Men’s prayer

Baruch ata YH*H Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, Shelo Asani Isha.

Blessed are You, YH*H, Our God, King of the Universe, Who Did Not Make Me a Woman.

This line is found in Orthodox liturgies of the Bircat HaShachar, (Morning Blessings) that are recited first thing in the morning by the religious Jew. This particular blessing (or bracha) is unusual, though, as it is not recited by women. The corresponding women’s bracha has the alternate ending “… She’asani Kirtzono” – “… Who Made Me According to His Will” after the standard opening for blessings.

A common explanation for this is that we are thanking God for the obligations of the mitzvot. Women (under Orthodox rulings) are exempted from certain mitzvot, and thus, we men should be glad of our extra obligations. This explanation carries a little more weight when this brachah is seen in its context, right next to the blessings “… Shelo Asani Goy” and “… Shelo Asani Aved” (… Who Did Not Make Me a Non-Jew, … Who Did Not Make Me a Slave). Non-Jews are assigned only basic ethical obligations under Jewish law, and slaves are exempt from a range of obligations also.

However, non-Orthodox versions of the liturgy are not satisfied with this, or the egocentric tone of the other two blessing mentioned above. As women are generally considered to be under equal obligation outside of Orthodoxy, the first blessing was certainly inappropriate. Some liturgies omit these three blessings (e.g. the British Reform and Liberal movements’) and some adapt them. The American Conservative and Reconstructionist siddurim (prayer books) give them as:

“… She’asani B’Tzalmo” “… Who Created Me in His Image” (A reference to Genesis 1:27)
“… She’asani Yisrael” “… Who Created Me as a Jew”
“… She’asani Ben-Khorin” “… Who Created Me Free”

The Israeli Masorti (Conservative) siddur gives the bracha that women say in the traditional liturgy (“… According to His Will”) as a replacement for all three – along with an explanation that the others should be assumed to be included in this, and so new blessings need not be added.

Finally, a two very curious discoveries are of interest here. There is a 15-16th Century siddur for women, which is now in the Roth collection at the library of the University of Leeds. It is written in a dialect of Provençal in Hebrew characters and Hebrew, and uniquely contains the blessing “… Shelo Asani Ish” – “… Who Did Not Make Me a Man”. Also, an Italian siddur from 1471 contains the blessing “… Sheasani Isha ve’lo Ish” – “… Who Made Me a Woman and Not a Man”. The original of this last siddur can be seen online at www.jtslibrarytreasures.org.

Siddur Yitzchak Yair Hashalem (Orthodox, Artscroll)
Siddur Sim Shalom (Conservative)
Forms of Prayer (UK Reform)
Siddur Kol Haneshama (Reconstructionist)
Siddur Lev Chadash (UK Liberal)
(all English translations are my own)

If anyone finds a different rendition of these brachot, I’d be grateful to know and add them.

Thanks to arieh for noticing the relationship between the “other two” brachot and obligations.

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mens prayer

QUESTION: What are some prayers for men?

ANSWER:

Prayer for Fathers Creator God, thank You for creating me to share in the conception of life, and share in the responsibility of raising my children. I ask that You would help me as I train up my children to know You and love You. As I look to You as my Father, may I give Your love to my children. God, give me the compassion and tenderness my children need. Give me courage and strength to live according to Your guidance and wisdom. Help me correct them when needed and encourage them always. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer for the Safety of Soldiers Almighty and eternal God, I pray for my brothers and sisters who are serving their country. Protect all who are serving our country in uniform as they complete their duties. Protect them with the shield of Your strength and keep them safe from all evil and harm. May the power of Your love enable them to return home in safety to those who love them. May they praise You for Your loving care. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayers for Leaders Father God, You are infinite and all-knowing. Please give me wisdom to be the leader You have called me to be — in my home and in business. There are many choices and sometimes I fall short. Give me guidance as I strive to be the leader You want me to be in my home, at my place of employment, and in the community in which I live. Help me to lead with integrity and be an example of You to others. I ask this through my Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Prayers for Husbands God, thank You for my wife. She is a gift from You. Help me to be quick to forgive, ready to encourage, and always available to her. Give me guidance as I seek to meet her needs and be her leader. Help me be faithful to her in my mind, thoughts, and heart. Keep us focused on You as we go through trials and times of conflict. Help us to work out conflict in a way that honors You. I commit my marriage to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

– We have all

sinned

and deserve God’s judgment.

God

, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.

Jesus

, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He

died

for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was

buried

, and

rose from the dead

according to the

Bible

. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your

Savior

, declaring, “

Jesus is Lord

,” you will be saved from

judgment

and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions

www.allaboutprayer.org

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