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Please Help Me:I Have A Holy Jewish Mother [#24]

I was born a Jew. Every day I thank God "shelo asani goy". What is strange is that if yesterday I thanked God for not making me a goy, why do I have to thank Him today. It is nigh impossible to be a goy today if I was a Jew yesterday. It should suffice to thank Hashem one time "shelo asani goy" and that should cover the rest of ones life.

Please help me.

Hi Rav Ali,
I actually heard a shiur by you before pesach 2 years ago on the Sefas Emes's shita on achilas Matza. On to the question. The netziv asks why we use wine at havdallah. Normally we only use wine for happy times. The end of shabbos is certainly not happy, so why use wine. He answers that we use wine because we say "bein yisrael le'amim" and when a Jew can tell the difference between himself and a goy (like the difference between light and darkness) it is a cause for celebration. I think your question can be answered through this. Just as during havdallah every week we must thank hashem for seperating us becuase at that moment our avodah is in a bechina of "Havdallah" or being mavdil; So too each day when our avoda is in a bechina of "asiya" we must thank G-d for not "making" us goyim. This is to say that we thank G-d that we would not be able to do the avodah we are doing in every different form, if we were goyim.Kein Nir'eh Le'aniyus Da'ati.

P.S. Check out my gedolim Picture site- Gadol.blogspot.com and

Yashar Koach Rav Tsvi - I too remember the shiur to which you made reference. Thanks for coming.

I am sorry I don't fully understand from your answer how today is different from yesterday.Please - if it is not to much trouble - explain more. [I like the Netziv!]

Your Gedolim pictures are fantastic. The Medrash says that anyone who saw Avraham was blessed. So too you are bringing blessings upon people by allowing them to gaze at the Spiritaul Titans of our people.
Hagorem libracha yitbarech !!!
Ally Ehrman

Shalom HaRav Ally-
I love the website. Rav Avrohom Schorr Shlit"a gives a weekly shiur on peirush ha'tefilla. In one of his early shiurs, he addressed just this question. I forgot whom he quoted (a Chassidishe source most probably, but bli neder I'll check), but the explanation was that every night, when our neshamas go up to shamayim, there is a chance, rachmana litzlan, that our Jewish neshama be replaced with a Goyish one. It is for that reason that we recite the beracha daily.

Kol Tuv,

Well, can't you say the same thing about "Shelo asani Isha"? Obviously, we do not answer a question with yet another question (or do we?), but Chazal did not think that people would actually try to switch from being a man to a woman or the reverse. Also, I think it is legitimate for one to thank Hashem or praise Hashem for making him a Jew so that he can now fulfill all the mitzvos that apply to him and that do not apply to a non-Jew or a woman for that matter. We are about to embark on a day filled with mitzvos and we know that it is far greater to be commanded and do the mitzvos then to not be commanded and keep the mitzvos, so we begin our day by thanking Hashem for giving us such a great opportunity. Also, just from a hakaras hatov standpoint. Is it enough that a child thanks his mother only once for giving birth to him? You should probably thank her at least once a day (just a suggestion of course). Food for thought...

Rav Ali, Jonathan is Yoni Henner by the way.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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