NY Times Letter Addresses “Shelo Asani Isha”


shelo-asani-isha1The following letter appears in today’s New York Times:

To the Editor:Maureen Dowd’s reference to a morning prayer recited by some Orthodox Jewish men thanking God for not making them women (“Loosey Goosey Saudi,” column, March 3) is the second time in two months that a New York Times columnist (after Nicholas D. Kristof, Jan. 10) has cited this practice as evidence of Judaism’s oppression of women.

Under Orthodox Jewish practice, women, in recognition of their childbearing and other familial responsibilities, are charged with fewer ritual commandments than men. The blessing in question, far from reflective of officially sanctioned subjugation of women, is simply a daily expression of thanks by men for being given the opportunity to express their belief in God by performing additional commandments.

Daniel Wolf
Teaneck, N.J., March 3, 2010

{NY Times/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. A P.S. Was this bracha printed out in its full form anywhere or did Matzav see the need to include it, and if the latter, why with the full shaimos?

  2. I’m just throwing this idea out there but would anyone agree that perhaps the world now knows more about Orthodox Jewish Practices because of all the Torah content that can be found online these days?

  3. Lemayseh it doesn’t answer the question, since if women have equal mitzvos to raise children, then why are men thankful? After all they are both equal, so what is there to be thankful about for being one instead of the other?

  4. I applaud this letter writer. There is no way the NYT would have a published a longer explanation. The NYT is widely read and cited as authoritative by many people who are ignorant of Jewish practice and belief, and the fact that Ms. Doud is ignorant of the reasons behind this bracha will not stop them from assuming that what she wrote is the emes. The fact that she and iothers like her feel no constraints in writing without researching is another issue, and should call into question her statements on other matters as well.

  5. Us women are a. Different to men and b. Superior we dont need so many mitzvahs to come close to Hashem but the men do, but its still doesnt change the fact that men have more mitvahs then women and so the bracha is basically saying thank you Hashem for giving us more mitzvahs thats all