Monday, June 29, 2015

"Mansplaining the Morning Blessings"

"It's not about the extra mitzot," says Rainbow Tallit Baby.  I consider this very informative post a must-read.


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Nice article. Thanks for sharing.

Tue Jun 30, 10:28:00 AM 2015  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

You're welcome, Larry. It's always refreshing to be reminded that the siddur (prayer book) that we use today is a product of centuries of change and innovation, rather than being carved in stone from day one. Just because it's now in print doesn't make it any more untouchable than it was in earlier eras.

Tue Jun 30, 12:35:00 PM 2015  
Anonymous AnDat said...

That article was kind of disturbing.
Partially, this is due some sort of bias leading to stretched interpretations: Most of the 13th and 15th century "positive form" adjustments to the text of the brachot - certainly the Rome "who has made me an Israelite" one! - were primarily due to censorship, and it's somewhat disingenuous to treat them as a valid indicator of Jewish philosophy in that time-and-place. (In the 13th century [in France or Spain, can't remember which] and in 15th century Italy [or more precisely, the provinces that are now Italy], Jews were required to submit their books to Christian censors for expurgation. The form of the bracha in use in the latter place-and-time was "... that hath made me Yisrael and not a goy." The [probable] first instance of "that hath made me Yisrael" [the plain positive form, without the "and not a goy] is in a machzor copied in Florence dated 1492. Earlier manuscripts in that location had the words "and not a goy" crossed out by the same censor to whom this manuscript would be submitted, and the copyist for that machzor, Farissol, is known to have been familiar with the censor ser Marchion's earlier expurgations. Yes, he himself took out the phrase that was going to be crossed out anyways. No, this should not be considered a step in the evolution of the bracha. The same applies to being required by Christians to replace the word "goy" with other words in other centuries.)
Also, that author wrote, "One example of the numerous way lower status and had real consequences in the lives of women is that a rape victim had to marry her rapist and could not innate [sic] divorce." The halacha (as per Shulchan Aruch, Even haEzer 117:3, based on the Gemara) is that he doesn't get a choice. She does, and does not have to marry him if she doesn't want to, "and he may not divorce her except at her will."
(As a feminist, you will surely object to the exact phrasing of the first clause: "He must marry her, but only if she and her father will it." Nonetheless, it's a pretty far cry from what that article is claiming was the law.)

Tue Jun 30, 04:52:00 PM 2015  
Anonymous AnDat said...

Yikes, that turned out extremely long; my apologies.

Tue Jun 30, 05:02:00 PM 2015  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

AnDat, I agree that Rainbow Tallit's analysis of the laws of rape was a bit off.

As for most changes being the result of censorship, that may be so, but why should we not take the lead and do the editing ourselves and for our own benefit, rather than on the orders of others?

Wed Jul 01, 12:50:00 PM 2015  

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