The seventh blessing completes the process of channeling
the renewed divine consciousness into the emotions described in the previous blessing.
"Baruch atah ... zokaif kefufim."
are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who straightens the bowed. "
as a newborn baby lifts its head and stretches its arms and legs out of its dormant
fetal position, experiencing life and freedom for the first time, so too we exult
in bringing the flow of energy all the way down to our legs. The legs and lower
portion of the torso represent the ability to express emotions in action.
is the difference in stature between man and animals? A man walks erect, his head
upright, facing forward, his heart below. Beneath the heart are the legs, the
foundation of action. In contrast, an animal's head, heart, and leg-sockets are
on the same level; both in structure and in function its head looks to the earth,
its source of sustenance. When we are asleep, our position is similar to that
of an animal! Only when we are awake and erect, striving for positive growth,
is the head ascendant. Then the intellect rules the emotions and the emotions
stimulate us to act. The seventh blessing marks the transition to action, the
ultimate expression of who we are and what we are all about.
At this point,
let us look back and note that in blessings 4-7 the human body is used as a conceptualization
of the 10 divine attributes through which G-d created the world. The head (4th
and 5th blessings) contains the three intellectual
attributes: wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The right arm, left arm, and
upper torso (6th blessing) represent respectively the
emotional attributes: kindness, severity, and beauty (sometimes referred to as
compassion). The right leg, left leg, and lower torso (7th blessing) stand for
the active attributes: eternity, glory, and foundation-kingship [see Patach
Eliyahu - Siddur: erev Shabbat minchah]. Meditating on how the human body
is a functioning metaphor for the divine attributes makes one realize that we
are not limited to merely one plane, but rather exist on all planes simultaneously.
Shaul Leiter is the executive
director of Ascent-of-Safed.
This series is translated and adapted from Meah Shearim
and other sources