Beit Midrash

  • Jewish Laws and Thoughts
  • Foundations of Faith
קטגוריה משנית
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicatedin the memory of

Yaakov Ben Behora

When a Jew awakes in the morning, the first thing he does - even before rising from his bed and washing his hands and face - is say, "I thank You, living and everlasting King, for You have restored my soul with mercy - great is Your faithfulness." These few words give expression to the profound and wonderful experience of waking. In "Olat Raayah," Rabbi A.Y. HaCohen Kook explains this prayer, and from his explanation we are able to learn how He himself felt in his waking moments.

Upon waking, explains Rabbi Kook, one's heart is full of rapture due to the renewed encounter with God's great and bountiful creation. This leads to a feeling of exalted joy and a desire to express thanks to the Almighty for everything. The first word to come out of one's mouth is "thanks." Thank You. Thank God that He has restored my soul. This is how a person of faith awakes and begins his day - on an optimistic and joyful note, full of trust in the good and beneficent God. Such a person knows that God is the omnipotent Master of creation and that everything derives from Him.

A person of faith thanks God and blesses Him for everything. The first part of his daily agenda is prayer. The blessings in the prayer service give expression to our pondering of the Universe and its order. The blessing "He creates the constellations" expresses the vastness of God's creation: "How many are Your works, God; You made them all with wisdom, the earth is full of Your possessions," and God "renews every day, continually, the work of creation." How enormous and impressive are the constellations, the sun which renews its light for us daily. All of these things cause this blessing to burst forth from the depths of the heart, "Blessed are You...Who creates the constellations."

One who possesses a healthy and believing heart does not sink into habit. He does not buckle under the weight of daily hassles. He is alert, pondering and assaying creation, observing its wonders. He knows Who has created and fashioned all of these things. The true believer is renewed and impressed on a daily basis. His joy is continuously reawakened and his blessings flow forth from a vibrant and feeling heart.

After the blessing "He creates the constellations," which relates to God's creation, the supplicant is uplifted to an even higher level and recalls Israel's unique Divine greatness. This greatness is do to the fact that we are God's nation for whom God harbors an eternal love. This is why He drew us near to Him and gave us the Torah.

The Divine light which radiates from the Torah is incomparably loftier than the creation of the physical world. This is the backdrop to the blessing "An eternal love You have loved us, Lord our God." He has chosen us over all other nations. The world is renewed every day, and so is God's love for Israel - a new, vibrant, and burning love. This is what is felt by the believer, and he blesses God regarding this, saying, "Blessed are You...Who chooses His people Israel with love."

After these two blessings, the supplicant accepts upon himself the Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. He is totally prepared to fulfill God's complete desire, no matter what this involves, and he will do this lovingly, wholeheartedly, and with complete self-sacrifice. He is ready to give all, as it is written, "with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your possessions."

This is the way a man of faith begins his day - with an all-encompassing vista of the world, life, and the Almighty Creator. It follows that his entire day possesses quality, ideals, and meaning. Rather than being gray, superficial, monotonous, and empty, his daily existence is profound, rich, and full.

Some of the text in the above article is taken from or based upon Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin's translation of The Kuzari (Jason Aronson Inc.).

את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר