Every so often, I’m asked my opinion on the blessing that males recite daily, thanking G‑d “for not making [them] a woman.”

Do I think that this blessing should be abolished? Does it make me feel angry? Theoretically, if we had a Sanhedrin (court of law) that was great enough to change these words, should this blessing be omitted from our morning liturgy?

Since I am a staunch advocate for women, many assume that I would be offended by this blessing. Many well-meaning men and women find this blessing troubling, and I understand their perspective.

But, although I do think that there is something very wrong here, I am not bothered by the blessing itself. And let me explain why.

I have come to understand a deeper, and quite beautiful, Do I think the blessing should be abolished?explanation about this blessing, from Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov:

A king calls two of his subjects and gives them very different assignments. He appoints one as the general of his army. This individual will wear a special uniform, adorned with many shiny medals signifying the import of his brave work in defending his country. He will take great risks and will be charged with tremendous responsibility, but he will also reap the rewards of his efforts, as his heroic service will be acknowledged by all.

To the second individual, the king assigns a completely different role. He is to serve in the king’s secret service. He wears no uniform, and is not adorned with any badges of honor. He too will be charged with valiant missions, and take perhaps even greater risks, without which the kingdom could not survive. But no one may know about his courage. Though to the outside observer his job may appear far less glamorous, his role is vital, and the king assures him how much he appreciates his sacrifice.

So, Rabbi Kitov explains, a man thanks G‑d every morning for not being assigned the less rewarding role. He proudly dons his religious “medals” and uniform, and assumes his extra commandments in his more public service. A woman, on the other hand, understands the significance of her more private role. She realizes how vital her nurturance is for the survival of mankind. She assumes the role that receives little public recognition, modestly knowing that to G‑d her sacrifices are invaluable.

I appreciate this explanation; I find it respectful, not patronizing. So, it is not the blessing itself which disturbs me.

However, I am disturbed by the reality behind this blessing. Because this blessing simply reflects the world that we live in. The facts on the ground, as it were. And I’d rather acknowledge reality, no matter how unappealing it may be, than hide from it. In acknowledging, we make room for progress.

Let’s face it, being a woman—yes, even in today’s progressive 21st century—is difficult. While opportunities for women have expanded, women are still earning less than their male counterparts. Women’s lack of representation in many key positions proves that the glass ceiling still exists. Sexual harassment still abounds in the workforce and beyond. Working women are still performing the majority of the household chores. And biases against women are still unfortunately prevalent; even in today’s modernized secular society—and perhaps now more than ever—women are objectified and exploited.Biases against women are still unfortunately prevalent

And let’s not forget a woman’s biological makeup. Until modern science is able to make every woman capable of experiencing a nausea-free, energy-filled pregnancy, as well as a pain-free birth (not to mention restful nights while nursing a newborn), as well as symptomless monthly cycles, a woman will naturally experience certain uniquely female hardships. (This does not in any way take away from the accompanying miraculous experiences, like the unparalleled wonders of birth and motherhood.)

So, meanwhile—yes, feminist that I am—I do not have any problem with every husband, father, brother and son reciting this blessing daily, thanking G‑d for making him immune to some of the less-pleasant experiences that we as women face.

As my sons and husband say this blessing, I want them to feel grateful for their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, who sacrifice so much for them and for our society. And, as they do, let them think about how they as individuals can make the circumstances of the women in their lives better.

As they recite this blessing, let them contemplate, too, our present imperfect reality. I want them to remember that all is not well. The current order of things is not what is ultimately meant to be.

And let them envision and pray for a time when all injustices and hardships will disappear. Let them pray for a time when, in the words of the wedding blessing, the “voice of the groom and the voice of the bride will be heard.”

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, who lived over 200 years ago—well before the launch of any feminist movement—explained that now the dominant energy of the world is masculine, while I want them to remember that all is not wellthe “feminine” immanent aspect of G‑d, the Shechinah, is in exile. The feminine perspective (“voice of the bride”) is subdued. But there will come a time, the messianic era, when not only will her voice be heard and understood, but her gentler perspective will be appreciated and hallowed.

In that time, as was prophesied by Isaiah, “the moon shall be like the light of the sun.”1 The “feminine” moon that waxes and wanes monthly will be restored and will shine with equal radiance. Only in the messianic era will the feminine perspective be fully expressed.

For then the Shechinah will be openly revealed in our world. In that era, nekeivah tesovev gever2—“the female shall surround the male,” and eishet chayil ateret baalah3—“a woman of valor will be the crowning glory of her husband.” And, just as a crown sits atop a head, the feminine energy will supersede the masculine.

Redemption is a feminine era. It is a time when we will experience a more inner, more private dimension in our relationship with G‑d. It is a time when we will naturally observe the mitzvahs and learn Torah out of our intrinsic love for Him, without the need for reward. Our role as G‑d’s bride will be fully appreciated.

But until that time, I for one will listen to my men saying this blessing, and hope that they are thinking of its implications.

And doing their part to get us all there.