Omer Learning 2019: Day 19 | Siddur Q & A: Were any of the prayers in the…

Today is 19 days, which is 2 weeks and 5 days of the Omer

Instructions for counting the omer are found on our Omer Overview Page. You can find the specific blessing for today at chabad.org.

We’re dedicating new Siddurim on the first day of Shavuot. In honor of this wonderful occasion, we’re using the counting of the Omer to learn about the siddur.

Enjoy today’s siddur related question and answer, which was provided by Stacey V..

Were any of the prayers in the siddur composed by non-Jews?

After much internet research as well as calls and emails to the Rabbinical Assembly (that went unanswered), I was unable to find a definite yes or no answer to this question.

However! Etz Hayim’s Chief Gabbai found a tangential link to this idea in an article that I’ll briefly sum up here. There are three lines in the morning brachot that were originally written as truly cringe-worthy proclamations: “Blessed are you O God, King of the Universe, Who has not made me…” and conclude, respectively, “a goy [Gentile],” “a slave,” and “a woman.”

The article describes the non-Jewish inspiration for these so-called blessings. “From the third century B.C.E., we find written record of a quip, ostensibly attributed to Socrates, that expresses gratitude for having been born human and not a brute, a man and not a woman, Greek and not barbarian.”

The article can be found at: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/three-blessings/