A Torah for Both Genders: “Shelo Asani Isha”
I have recited the blessing Shelo Asani Isha my entire life. But in recent years, I have become growingly uncomfortable with it. I’m getting to the point that I feel I can no longer recite it while believing it in my heart. I do not feel joy as I recite it, but I feel repulsion.
The reason is that I feel this blessing ascribes superiority to the male gender. I personally feel the two genders are equal in importance, even though their roles in life might have some differences. Though the explanation given is to thank Hashem for having more mitzvot one can fulfill, reality is both genders have important mitzvot that in most cases are exclusive to that gender. And the mitzvot of both genders are of equal importance to society.
It bothers me that men thank Hashem for not making them a woman, but woman don’t use wording thanking Hashem for not having made them a man. It sounds as if a person is extra special in the eyes of Hashem for not being a woman.
The Torah was given to both genders, not just men.