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Blessed be God ... Who Didn't Make Me a Man

Blessed be God ... Who Didn't Make Me a Man

Jewish feminism doesn't mean wanting to be a man. It means thanking God for creating you perfectly female.


When I graduated law school, I hung my degree in the family room of my parents' home, resigned my membership in all radical feminist and leftist organizations, and headed for yeshiva.

Now, having been “married with children” for awhile, those feminist ideas have receded even farther into the past.

Not only do I NOT want to be a man, I don't want equal access to his responsibilities, at least not in the Jewish world. Not only do I take pleasure in my responsibilities as a woman, I take pleasure in not having a man's commandments to fulfill.

Women are frequently distressed by men's daily thanks for not being created female. I, on the other hand, am grateful for fewer commandments that I am required to fulfill, especially when it's 10 o'clock at night and I'm curling up in bed with a good book, while my husband is putting on his jacket and heading out the door to pray maariv.

I whisper a little prayer, thanking the Almighty for not creating me male.

I whisper a little prayer, thanking the Almighty for not creating me male. On Shabbos morning when I pull the covers up over my head as my husband leaves for the synagogue, I am glad not to be obligated in time-bound commandments. I have no desire to put on tefillin, I think I look ridiculous in a kipa, and I enjoy the freedom to pray on a more relaxed schedule.

Having carried, given birth and nursed nine children, I wouldn't trade my biological destiny for anything in the world. I don't have to prove my strength or value in male arenas. I don't believe that I would nourish my family or friends better if I learned Gemara.

I enjoy nurturing and raising my children. I enjoy opening my home to guests and those in need. I thrive on the intellectual stimulation of learning Torah, but I need it to be balanced by practical application. And I enjoy communicating these ideas to others.

I like cooking, dancing, ice skating and throwing a football around, none of which is hampered by being female or observant. I can go to Broadway shows, dance recitals and concerts, all of which are off bounds to my husband because of kol isha (prohibitions against hearing a woman sing) or immodest dress of the performers.

Blessed be Hashem ... who didn't make me a man.

I have a long way to go to truly achieve my own potential. It's a tremendous job, exciting and rewarding. I appreciate my feminine strengths and I want to make the most of them. I'm happy with who I am and who I could be. Maybe I'm still a radical feminist after all.

March 25, 2000

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Visitor Comments: 11

(10) Tzvi, November 29, 2017 12:29 AM

Frum and Cool

It's funny- when I was 1st introduced to Orthodoxy, 1 of my main mentors (a very sincere and caring wife and mother) said something that made TOO MUCH SENSE- specifically that men and women have different roles in the world. Having grown up in a liberal synagogue/Hebrew school - I hadn't heard this before- certainly not from a Jewish perspective. This statement made an impression on my soul. My noble wife told me while we were dating that she desired to be "frum and cool"!! Baruch HaShem- my wife is both of those adjectives. Ms. Braverman- it's so refreshing to see the same thinking from someone like you. Klal Yisroel is blessed beyond words to have you!!! Respectfully, Tzvi in Philadelphia

(9) anonymous, June 23, 2011 1:32 PM

what about brocha, "she lo asani isha"

I love being a woman, being a mother and raising my children is and was the greatest honor, and pleasure, (and challenge) , but I never have heard a good explanation on the brocha that men say every morning, thanking Hashem for not making me a women. The Torah is so carefull to use "lashon Nikiya" so why is this worded in the negative, why not saying thank you for making me a man

(8) Anonymous, January 30, 2010 5:04 PM

Who said Feminists want to be men?

Women want career achievement, education, self respect, and be themselves. If feminists want to be men, there are no such feminists.

(7) Leigh, March 25, 2007 9:52 PM

I used to be a victim...

of a secular society that claimed to care about me, but that was only if I did not go against their agenda of trying to make me as close to man as possible without the reproductive organs. Then one day I realized that I was very miserable trying to be like the men. Luckily Hashem introduced the Torah into my life and I realized that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with me being a woman and no way did I have apologize for it by being a lesser version of a male. I 100% agree with Emuna and I applaud you for writing this article. With my thinking mind I choose this lifestyle and instead of the lifestyle I had before where I was just mimicking a bunch of groupthink.

(6) Anonymous, October 28, 2003 12:00 AM

Wake Up!

There is a word for the thoughts expressed in this article: legitimation. Legitimation is the process of justifying injustice to convince oneself that the world is as it should be. Legitimation is caused by the fear of the energy, resolve, and discomfort that would be required to admit to and actually work against injustice. Women who legitimate myths of "biological destiny" are victims and perpetuators of inequality. That so many women responded with affirmation to this article is mere evidence of how widespread and deeply entrenched this victimization and perpetuation is. Emuna, stop pulling the cover over your eyes. Wake up!

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