(I realize there are some similar questions, but I believe not dupes...)

Asking for a friend:

If a woman is present while a man is saying Shelo Asani Isha, is there any reason she should not answer Amen? Would it perhaps be somewhat akin to her making the blessing herself, which would be untrue?

Sources would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

  • 6
    How is this different than a someone saying Amen to someone else's Hagomel?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 1:32
  • 4
    Or amen to baruch shpetrani
    – sam
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 2:27
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


R. Shraga Feivish Schneebalg has a responsum about this precise question, in Shu"t Shraga Hameir 8:23.

He begins by noting that he had this question for many years, but because it was not relevant to him (as he was a man) and no one had ever asked him for a ruling he never recorded his view. Now, since someone asked him, he wrote a responsum about it.

At first he discusses the nature of "amen" and how it means different things for different types of berachos, and that therefore it is very important to know which beracha you are saying amen to so that you can have the correct meaning in mind.

He explains that the beracha of "shelo asani isha" is a praise to God for creating the person as a man with full mitzvah obligation rather than a woman with only partial mitzvah obligation (women are exempt from time-bound-positive-commandments). The meaning of "amen" for this type of beracha is that the praise is true and fitting. Since even a woman knows that a man has the advantage of all the mitzvos she can say amen to his beracha, affirming that the praise is true and fitting.

Here is the relevant paragraph:

כאת נחזור לשאלתינו הברכה של שלא עשני אשה שהוא שבח יקר וגדולה לאל מלך יוצר כל יתברך שברא לו איש שחייב בכל המצות ולא אשה שפטורה ממצות עשה שהזמן גרמה ומלימוד תורה הקדושה אז העונה אמן אחר ברכה זו צריך לכון אמת היא הברכה והשבח המברך ואני מודה ומאמין שהשבחים לו יאים ונאים וגם אשה יודע שיש שבח לאיש שמקיים כל התרי"ג מצות היינו גם המצות עשה שהזמן גרמה וגם לימוד התורה הקדושה ומשבח לבורא יתברך שמו שנברא לאיש וע"כ יש אפשרית גם לאשה לענות אמן ולכוון כוונה זו שמודה ומאמינה שהשבחים לו יתברך הם יאים ונאים לשבח להשי"ת בשבח זה

Some 80 years earlier, R. Menachem Nosson Nota Auerbach had already ruled this way as well, in Orach Ne'eman 124:18. He cited a ruling against women saying amen (or a man saying the beracha in public) because it is embarrassing to women, but said that according to his explanation that "shelo asani isha" refers not to being created as a man but to the fact that the man wasn't changed into a woman, it is not embarrassing to women and they would therefore be obligated to affirm the truth of the beracha by saying "amen".

ולפי"ז אינו מוכרח לחדושי המח' מאורי אור (בח' באר שבע סי' מו') דמחדש שאשה אינה עונה אמן על ברכת שלא עשני אשה וגם דאין לברך ברכה זו ברבים משום דהוא בכלל הלבנת פניהם ברבים דלפמש"כ הברכה אינו על עיקר בריאתו אלא על שלא נשתנה מבריאתו הקודמת ואין בזה הלבנת פניהם וחייבת גם היא לאמת הברכה ששומעת מהמברך וז"פ


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