Sheasani Kirtzono -- a different view

First to give credit where credit is due -- most important just after Purim, for Esther is the one who illustrates kol haomer davar beshem omro mevi geula laolam -- I have to say that this thought came tome when my husband told me about Brooklyn Wolf's posting that you can read at http://wolfishmusings.blogspot.com/2008/03/parody-or-touch-of-reality.html.
That poster is actually mild compared to some of the books that mean their advice seriously. See http://www.sarahchanaradcliffe.com/Aizer_Kenegdo.htm It's subtitled: The Jewish Woman's Guide to Happiness in Marriage. For another example kept current in print, read Rabbi Miller's "Ten Commandments of Marriage" reprinted each year in the Chosson Kallah Guide (completely unaffiliated with Kallah Magazine). Yes, truth is more extreme than fictional parodies. I have quoted from such seriously intended sources in my now lost WordPress blog.
But that is not the point of this post.
The though that occurred to me was the sheasani kirtzono could serve as a very positive idea. In a world in which women are always looking at their physical attributes to find flaws and then seek to correct them through artificial means, expressing acceptance of what one is by nature is a radical notion. Rather than seeking the solutions of Botox or what touts itself as Better than Botox or collagen injections or various other procedures in pursuit of greater beauty, women can declare, "
sheasani kirtzono; Hashem made me according to His will, and so why should I tamper with a Divine masterpiece?" The look of supermodel perfection is not the ratzon Hashem. Even the women you see in magazine pictures do not look quite as perfect in real life without professional hairstyling, makeup application, airbrushing, wind, and lighting effects .
Sheasani kirtzono could be a new feminist rallying cry to refuse the dictatorship of the fashion and beauty industry and now the plastic surgery industry and gladly accept ourselves as we are -- laughlines and all.

Comments

Chaim B. said…
What do you make of the fact that this bracha of she'asani k'retzoni is not mentioned anywhere in the gemara (all the others are)?
Josh M. said…
Interesting pshat.

Ha-nosein la-ya'eif ko'ach is also not mentioned in the gemara, although the Bach (cited in AhS 46:7) suggests that perhaps it was present in a variant girsa.

Be that as it may, she-asani kol tzorki is still probably the bracha of the most recent vintage.
Ariella said…
I would guess that the bracha was added some time later when someone realized that women could not say the shelo asani isha, obviously, and may wish to not feel they have fewer brachos in the siddur. There were techinos composed by and for women specifically. Perhaps they had been said in place of the standard siddur tefillos, but when women wanted to daven what was standard, there was an accommodation made for them. But the female perspective and experience was not usually considered in standardizing davening. For example, Tefilla Zaka, which has been incorporated into the Yom Kippur Machzor -- obviously was composed by and for men. ArtScroll attempts to set off the gender specific parts so that women would not end up berating themselves for looking at women and such.

However, if I wre being flippant, I would say that the later composition of the bracha proves my point. As cosmetic and other artificial uses came into existence, the need for such affirmaiton became manifest. ;-)

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