Prayer Insights

Morning Blessings # 4: "The Dawning Mind"

Rabbi Shaul J. Leiter

The 4th blessing assumes the flow of divine energy into the world described in the 2nd blessing and the descent of the soul into the body and animating soul detailed in the 3rd blessing. With the system now fully operational, we begin to describe its capacities.

"Baruch atah…hanotain lasechvi bina lehavchin bain yom uvain lailah."

"Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who gives the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night."

the giver - hanotain-... G-d gives to us freely, out of pure kindness.

to the rooster - lasechvi-... According to rabbinic sources, sechvi also denotes "man" and "heart." Just as a rooster senses the dawn, so too man possesses an inner sense of "seeing."

understanding - bina... Bina signifies true comprehensive understanding, not merely superficial cognizance

to distinguish - lehavchin... This is the ability to grasp the quality and essence of a thing, and to see how it is different from everything else.

between day and night - bain yom uvain lailah... The light of day reveals, the darkness of night conceals. This contrast extends metaphorically to the ability to discern between good and evil, and between awareness of the divine vs. non-awareness.

Rabbi Shaul Leiter is the executive director of Ascent-of-Safed.

This series is translated and adapted from Meah Shearim and other sources

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