How do we say Shelo Asani Goy when we are referred to as a nation - albeit a holy one - in Shemos 19:6

וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ־לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר תְּדַבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

  • Very related. Many have asked this before and from various other verses. Sde Chemed, for one, would therefore add “שלא עשני גוי כגויי הארץ”.
    – Oliver
    Jul 29 '19 at 21:19
  • וּמִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גּוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ
    – Al Berko
    Jul 30 '19 at 5:09

In colloquial usage, at some point goy came to mean "a non-Jew", even though you're right, Biblically it means "a nation", and the Jews are definitely described as one.

Some siddurim actually prefer shelo asani nochri, which would be a cleaner, clearer Biblical word meaning "non-Jew."


While it does say "goy" in the pasuk you quoted, it's meant to read with its accompanying adjective- "goy kadosh."

Additionally, by birchos hashachar the commentaries in the Shulchan Aruch use the word "akum" interchangeably with the word "goy" (see: Kaf Hachaim, Mishnah Berurah, Magen Avraham). Ie "goy" used for us is very different than "goy" used for non-Jews.

  • 2
    Your observation is relevant to all 3 of the blessings (who didn't create me a Goy (Kadosh), who didn't create me a Servant (of G-d), and who didn't create me a Wife (the Jewish people are referred to as G-d's Wife in Song of Songs)). Contrary to common belief, the emphasis of the blessing is that you were not created in that state, via a charitable handout. Rather, you must work through your own service to the Creator to earn that desirable title. And that is the highest and most preferred form of kindness one can do for another, to enable them to have a hand in sustaining themselves. Jul 29 '19 at 22:43
  • 2
    Yaacov: This is a beautiful explanation on the three blessings, the best I ever heard. Do you have a source for it?
    – user16403
    Jul 30 '19 at 3:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .