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    Additions to the morning blessings – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Three b’rachot we say every morning (the goy, eved, ishah blessings about not being a heathen, a slave or a woman) and also the last, praising God “who gives strength to the weary”, are not mentioned in the list of blessings in the Talmud (B’rachot 60b). When were they added and why?

    A. The goy, eved and ishah blessings are found in another Talmudic source, M’nachot 43b. They derive from the time of the Mishnah and acknowledge that Jews have the privilege of keeping more commandments than heathens or slaves, and Jewish males have more commandments to keep than do Jewish females (though since then women have taken upon themselves a number of commandments from which they were originally exempt).

    The blessing, “Who gives strength to the weary”, is added at the end of the early morning b’rachot to indicate that God gives us the energy to start the day’s duties properly. This blessing is not Talmudic but derives from the Machzor Vitry, compiled by a pupil of Rashi.

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