Once the spiritual energy has been drawn down by the previous
blessings sufficiently enough to enable the possibility of active expression,
a process described in the seventh blessing, "straightening
the bent", the next step in a person's waking, both physically and spiritually,
is getting dressed.
The eighth blessing indicates our desire to
be dressed again, spiritually as well as physically.
You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who clothes the naked"
human activity is expressed in one of the following three modes: thought, speech
and deed. These faculties are known as the "garments" of the soul. Each
day we encompass ourselves divine garments by thinking, speaking and acting in
accordance with G-d's will. When we sleep, however, the soul and its garments
depart, leaving the body, the soul's vehicle for good acts, in a state of spiritual
nakedness. The recitation of this blessing indicates our desire to be dressed
again spiritually as well as physically.
On a deeper level, the state of
nakedness represents the lack of positive purpose. After Adam and Eve lost their
only mitzva by failing to refrain from eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
of Good and Evil, they saw themselves as "arum" (literally "naked"
in Hebrew), lacking clothes. In the following verse (Gen. 3:1) the archetypal
serpent is described as "sly" by the very same word, arum.
the blessing "...who clothes the naked" also refers to our daily rediscovery
of our ability to rouse ourselves for worthwhile purposes.
recitation we thank G-d daily for enclothing us with the potential to do mitzvot,
i.e. the ability to utilize the garments of the divine soul in a constructive
and Jewish way. Each day we weave a finer and more exquisite garment of good thoughts,
good words and good deeds, each person according to his capacity. When the soul
leaves this world to reunite with its Source, it "wears" a garment woven
from all of the positive thought, speech and action a person engaged in while
This blessing verbalizes our commitment to transform our mundane
actions into a stepping-stone to our Creator by choosing to clothe ourselves in
the garments of our Divine soul. Thus, "
who clothes the naked"
can also be rendered: "
He that gives purpose to the purposeless,"
and by saying this blessing, we thank G-d for investing our lives with meaning
Rabbi Shaul Leiter is the executive
director of Ascent-of-Safed.
This series is translated and adapted from Meah Shearim
and other sources