Language of Benching

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Hi
When we bless our children in bircat hamazon, we say “זרעי”– literally “my seed.” Is that really appropriate for a woman to say? Clearly this language was formulated for men who their children are really their seed. For women, is there no other term for offspring?

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Asked on November 13, 2020 11:05 am
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The Hebrew word zera is sometimes used specifically to refer to a man’s seed (though Va-Yikra 12:2 may be an exception). When it means offspring, however, it can apply to women as well as men. The Biblical Channa supplies one prooftext for this, Shemuel I 1:11, when she asks God to “give to your handmaiden zera anashim [male offspring].” For this reason, a woman asking God to bless “zar’i” in benching is referring appropriately to her offspring, as Channa did.

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Answered on November 13, 2020 11:07 am