Q: What is the origin and extent of the use of the Jewish prayer I often hear quoted: “Lord, I thank thee that I was not born a woman.”
A: This is part of the morning prayer of the Orthodox Jew. Other people often pull it out of context to use it as an anti-women statement. However, in its original context, that is neither its purpose nor its meaning. Rather, its actual context concerns the keeping of the commandments: The Jewish man, in this prayer, thanks God that he has been granted the opportunity to obey God's Torah. Because there are many more commandments for men than for women, the Jewish man's thankfulness derives from the idea that he has been given opportunity to fulfill that many more commandments for the Lord. That is the oft-ignored true meaning and context of this prayer.