In the traditional Jewish liturgy, a man praises God daily for not having been made a gentile, a woman, or a slave. Manuscript editions of the Babylonian Talmud teach that recitation of this prayer is obligatory for all Jewish men. Despite the fact that these blessings have been officially part of the daily morning liturgy for more than a thousand years, the propriety of whether and how to recite them is an ongoing subject of debate. Yoel Kahn offers the first longitudinal study of the evolving language, usage, and interpretation of a Jewish liturgical text over its entire 2000 year life-span.

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