I’ve discovered some very cool stuff in my study time this week.
In the days that Jesus physically walked this earth, the Jewish rabbis had a particular prayer that they would pray virtually every day. It went like this: “Blessed art thou, O God, for not making me a Gentile, slave, or woman.”
Nice, huh ladies?
What I discovered this week is that the rabbis weren’t bashing the Gentiles, slaves and women. They really were simply thanking God that they were men . . . and for good reason.
They were thanking God because Gentiles, slaves and women were not allowed to participate fully in the community of faith. If you remember, in the Temple, there was a court for Gentiles, and a court for women. Both with restricted access into the Temple . . . restricted access into God’s presence.
Then along comes Jesus. And Jesus values Gentiles. And slaves. And women.
The Apostle Paul (a Jesus follower) writes in Galatians 3:28, “Now, there is neither Gentile or Jew, slave or free, male or female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul, as a rabbi, would have prayed the prayer, “Blessed art thou, O God, for not making me a Gentile, a slave, or a woman,” most every day of his life . . . Until he had an encounter with Jesus.
It is no accident that Paul uses the same three groupings . . . no Gentile or Jew, no slave or free, no male or female . . . He knew the prayer, but he knew Jesus’ heart even better. He knew that Jesus came to usher in a new community.
It took about 200 years to break down the barriers between the Jews and Gentiles (read the book of Acts). It took more than 1800 years to break down the walls between slave and free. How long will it take for the church to break down the walls between male and female?
I really liked that concept you presented about Jesus’ coming reversing the curse of sin. I’ve heard all the arguments on both sides of this issue a million times, and I have to say that “reversing the curse” is a breath of fresh air and is right on the money. That fell on me like a ton of bricks. Thanks! =D
I have always wanted to make up a bumper sticker saying”Jesus was the First Feminist”. I always thought believers would know what it meant – but those who did not – might take the time to look it up!
Love your bumper sticker idea. Actually, God was the first feminist. In the beginning, God created males and females as equals. We messed that up. And then in Genesis 3:15, immediately after the curse, God begins the reversal of the curse. My point is that God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit are all pro-humanity!
Re: Gender in the Temple:
The privileged position of the male seems to be man’s doing, not God’s.
In the Tabernacle, ALL Israel was separated from God ONLY by the Levites.
Solomon’s Temple was built like this as well.
Yet, Herod’s Temple tossed the woman out of that court.
They may have inferred form certain laws that women did not possess the necessary “equipment” to be acceptable to God.
I think you make a valuable point linking Paul’s teaching in Gal.3 with that rabbinic prayer that denigrated those other classes of people.
Fellow Christians! I urge you to looks around and realize our president is evil!
The US is the Beast spoken in Daniel and Revelations!
God bless you all!
The rabbis taught that there were nine curses of Eve…including things that are totally normal functioning of the human body (menstruation and pregnancy and childbirth)–to say these things are curses are to denigrate God’s creation in his image and likeness. Being in the outer Temple courts isn’t even one of the nine curses.
In fact, Adam and Eve received consequences, but not curses. Only the serpent is cursed.
Eve’s only consequences were increased toil (not pain!) in childbirth, and a disordered desire for her husband. A.k.a. putting up with men’s s*** like the men’s prayer thanking God for not making them women, and the disordered dependence that Adam’s consequence creates in her life–he wants to lord his authority over her. Collectively that creates an unjust and misogynistic society that makes it extremely difficult for her to transcend her consequence with the help of God’s grace.
Orthodox Jews still pray that petition today…daily.
This goygrrl is happy that Jesus Christ has reconciled all humanity to God and made us God’s sons and daughters.
To be fair, the Jewish interpretation of “helper” in Genesis 2 is a better understanding of the Hebrew word–“corresponding strength.” They understand the origins of woman to be a strength and not servile. Gotta give them their props there.
By the way, that prayer is still said daily by Orthodox Jews.
Could anyone tell me where in Scripture is that prayer the Jews say?