Page:Annotated Edition of the Authorised Daily Prayer Book.djvu/37

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me an Israelite etc.). In either case the sense is the same. The worshipper thanks God for the privilege of belonging to the community to which a special place was assigned in the working out of the divine purpose. As to the other two phrases, in the ancient world the position of male freemen was so much higher than that of women or slaves, that this benediction had a natural origin. But its retention in the Prayer Book has been consistently explained by Jewish authorities as due, not to pride in superior privilege, but to gratitude for higher obligations. Many of the ceremonial duties were not in cumbent upon women; and the man, so far from resenting his additional burden, thanked God for it.

Page 6. Who hast made me according to thy will (שֶׁעָשַֽׂנִי כִּרְצוֹנוֹ). The liturgy, in so far as it applied to Public Worship, was at first a liturgy for men. Women prayed and said the Eighteen Benedictions, etc. (Mishnah Berachoth iii. 3), but it was only later on that the whole Morning Service was habitually used by women. In the present case a modification was introduced at least as early as the first part of the fourteenth century. Abudarham, who then compiled a work on the Prayer Book, says "Women have the Minhag or rule to sub stitute for the wording who hast not made me a woman, the form who hast made me according to his wi//." The phraseology of Abudarham implies that it was no new custom in his time. The actual phrase used by the women has Biblical analogies but it seems derived from the Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus 1. 22. (The last words of the Hebrew Ecclus. i^")? -in OTl and made him according to his will exactly correspond to the liturgical m*"]3 3fr l^.) The same passage in Ecclesiasticus also explains a phrase in the paragraph in P.B. page 4, in which is eulogised God s wondrous hand in the formation of the human body, with its limbs and arteries. That benediction concludes Blessed art thou, O Lord, who healest (i.e. gives t health to] all flesh and doe st wondrously.