I see in Nusach Edos HaMizrach, women say שלא עשני גויה and שלא עשני שפחה, “Who did not make me a non-Jewess” and “Who did not make me a maidservant,” paralleling the men’s שלא עשני גוי and שלא עשני עבד, “Who did not make me a non-Jew” and “Who did not make me a slave.”

Why don’t Ashkenazi women say these forms of the Berachos? Doesn’t it make more sense for women to refer to female non-Jews and slaves, rather than use the masculine form?

  • 1
    Some Ashkenaz do and some Sefardim don't. Don't extrapolate from some Siddur you saw when there are lots of different Siddurim out there.
    – Double AA
    Mar 24, 2019 at 18:01
  • @DoubleAA Granted it was just one Edus HaMizrach Siddur, but I’ve never seen an Ashkenazi Siddur with this Nusach.
    – DonielF
    Mar 24, 2019 at 18:02
  • 3
    Is there a reason to think that if a Jewish woman hadn't been a Jewish woman it would be more likely for her to have been a non-Jewish woman than to be a non-Jewish man?
    – Alex
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:12
  • Like everything else, it's not so black and white. Some Ashkenazim will change the text of the Siddur to make it more grammatically correct for women's usage (e.g. "Modah Ani" vs. "Modeh Ani") and some Sefardim will not change the text of the Siddur. In fact, in some Sefardi communities (and I'd actually venture to say this is the norm), women do not pray from the Siddur at all, so there is no need to change the text of the berachot.
    – ezra
    Mar 25, 2019 at 5:19
  • By the way, just because a Siddur does not indicate a variant Nusach does not mean that Nusach does not exist. Plenty of Sefardi Siddurim do not print the women's variations of the berachot. Some of these changes are implied and are changed by the user, depending on their community's Minhag.
    – ezra
    Mar 25, 2019 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


There are a number of Ashkenazi Siddurim which include these forms of the blessings for women:

  • Siddur Derech Si'ach Sadeh, printed in Berlin in 1713, has both שלא עשני גויה and שלא עשני שפחה for women (in addition to שעשני כרצונו).

  • Siddur Avodas Yisrael, printed in Rödelheim in 1901, has שלא עשני נכריה and שלא עשני שפחה (in addition to שעשני כרצונו).

  • R. Yaakov Emeden in his Siddur Beis Yaakov writes that women should say שלא עשני גויה and שלא עשני שפחה (as well as שעשני כרצונו), however, since these versions of the blessings are not found in the Talmud, they should be said without Shem u'Malchus (Hashem’s names and the words melech ha’olam).

So the difference is not between Ashkenaz and Edos HaMizrach, it is merely a difference of opinion between various poskim from all communites whether it is preferable to use the original version, or change it to an explicitly feminine form.

(Based on information I found here)

  • 1
    This just pushes the question. Why do some change and some not? Particularly since it seems universally agreed to include שעשני כרצונו, which wasn’t in the Gemara, though many say that without שם ומלכות.
    – DonielF
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:19
  • @DonielF 1. Your original question was about Ashkenaz, so I answered that. But as far as why some do and some not I addressed in the last paragraph - it's like any other machlokes haPoskim. 2. Regarding שעשני כרצונו, it's not universal, as further evidenced by the fact that there's a machlokes whether or not to say it with Shem u'Malchus.
    – user9643
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:23
  • @DonielF the Arukh hashulchan says he thinks the minhag near him is not to say שעשני כרצונו
    – Double AA
    Mar 25, 2019 at 0:17

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