Barukh Ata Adonai
Saturday January 27th 2007, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Slices of Life

The English translation of practically every Jewish liturgy ever published renders “Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheynu, melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzvivanu” as “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sanctifies us with his commandments and commands us…” Then as feminist conscious and women rabbis and teachers emerged, we emended that a bit, changing King to Ruler or Sovereign and circumlocuting around the masculine pronouns. It seems to me that we ought to continue this thrust toward a full new translation of this translation.

Back when I was in rabbi school (I know, it’s called ‘yeshiva’), a grad-fellow instructor (who’s name I don’t recall) used to insist that “Barukh” should not be translated as “Blessed,” since the act of blessing implies that the bless-or has a higher status than the bless-ee. The most notable example of bestowing a blessing is a king blessing his subject; subjects never bless a king. (more…)