Morning Blessings For the Nine Days & Tisha B’Av: Part Three
An Understanding Heart to distinguish between day and night: “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure then nine will run into the ditch before they reach you (Calvin Coolidge).”
We thank You for giving us the understanding to distinguish between the troubles that will run into the ditch and those that will reach us.
“For not having made me and Gentile.”
“The happiest people seem to be those who have no particular reason for being happy except that they are so (W. R. Inge)
Many Holocaust survivors have told me that the key to maintaining their dignity even in a concentration camp was to look at their tormentors and bless God for not having made them such a low human being. They found joy in their essence.
“For not having made me a slave.”
“And when I rest in glory bright,
The burden of my labor past,
In hymns I’ll praise Thee more and more
While the eternal ages last (Synesius)
No matter how dark life may seem, no matter how hopeless, as long as I can focus on the future with hope; I am not a slave.
“For not having made me a woman.”
“And the man assigned names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to every beast of the field; but as for man, he did not find a helper corresponding to him. So God, the Lord, cast a deep sleep upon the man and he slept; and He took one of his sides and He filled in flesh in its place. Then God, the Lord, fashioned the side that He had taken from the man into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And the man said, “This time it is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This shall be called Woman, for from man was she taken (Genesis 2:20–23).”
Although God made it clear to the man that he lacked a “helper corresponding to him,” when Adam first saw the woman, rather then see her as God intended, Adam saw her only as an extension of himself; “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Adam had an opportunity to see someone beyond himself; someone who would push him to grow and motivate him to achieve. The name “Woman,” refers to the first woman who was perceived not as herself, but only as an extension of someone else.
We thank God for, “not having made me a woman,” meaning someone who is perceived by others only as an extension of them rather than as a fully independent and passionate human being.
We thank you God for giving us constant opportunities to develop our own sense of identity, and never only as defined by those who have power over us.