Prayer Insights

Morning Blessings # 6: "Battlefield of the Emotions"

Rabbi Shaul J. Leiter

After G-d graced us with intellect (4th blessing) and the capability of using it with the eyes of our mind (5th blessing), of what use is it all if it stays in our mind without finding expression in our emotions, the primary motivating factor for our behavior [emotion begets motion]?

The sixth blessing is the drumbeat, the beginning of the march onto the battlefield of the emotions.

"Baruch atah ... matir asurim."

"Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who releases the bound."

When we are asleep it is as if our arms are tied; likewise our emotions lie dormant. The struggle to move when we first awaken parallel our emotional struggle to begin to resist and overcome our negative inclinations. Even though the mind is apparently free, the emotions, our organs of interaction with the environment, are "bound up." Blessing #6 indicates the process of freeing ourselves.

When a person wakes up, immediately after opening his eyes he stretches his arms and arches his back. So, also, each day as we regain the ability to "see" our position clearly, we channel this consciousness into our emotions, which correspond to the arms and torso of the human body.

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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