June 23, 2024
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The Power of Birchot HaShachar

Highlighting: “Arise and Sing” by Yisroel Besser. ArtScroll/Mesorah. 2021. English. Hardcover. 194 pages. ISBN-13:
978-1422630068.

(Courtesy of Artscroll) How does your day begin? With yawns and half-opened eyes? With pulsing adrenaline and mental to-do lists that shatter any possibility of tranquility?

Chazal show us a different way to start the morning: with gratitude, anticipation, joy and, yes, kedushah.

With the Birchos HaShachar.

Following the amazingly successful format of his bestselling “Nishmas: Song of the Soul,” Yisroel Besser now brings us “Arise and Sing: The power of the first prayers of the day through commentary, stories, and inspiration.”

Speaking with Besser, you feel his passion, his belief that we can make a “good morning” into something great. “The Anshei Knessess HaGedolah gave us a gift—tefillah,” he explained. “Every word of the morning tefillos is laden with significance, with the possibility to change your whole day.”

“Arise and Sing” gives us a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the prayers we say daily, while inspiring us through fascinating stories.

“Not only will it change your morning,” said the author, “it will change your whole day—and maybe your life.”

***

Modeh ani… rabbah enunasecha—Abundant is Your faithfulness!

It was morning in Siberia, and in a freezing hut, a recent arrival began a new day.

Rav Yechezkel Abramsky, accustomed to addressing his Father in Heaven directly, lifted his gaze toward the heavens and spoke.

“Dear Father,” he said, “here I am, on my first day in the wasteland of Siberia, because this is where You, dear Father, want me to be. But Tatte, I have nothing here, none of my precious sefarim from which to learn, no clothing to keep me warm in the freezing climate, so with what can I start this day? How do I say ‘Modeh Ani’ on this day? For what do I thank You?”

And in a voice filled with enthusiasm, the Rav continued. “There is something I have with me, a gift that no one can take away, ever. My emunah, my faith in You and the precision of Your plan, dear Father. That’s right here, inside me now, as always. And for that, Tatte, I say thank You… so Modeh ani… for this fact, that rabbah emunasecha, my emunah is great and limitless, always with me. For this, I am so grateful.”

***

How does Hashem show His faithfulness?

The words rabbah emunasecha refer to Hashem’s faithfulness, the emunah that He possesses. What does it mean that the Master of the universe believes? Why would He Who knows what the future holds require faith?

The answer is right here. Each night, the soul goes up to Heaven, judged anew. We know the truth. Maybe we could have been better or done more. Maybe today wasn’t perfect…

But then we open our eyes and we realize that He has given us back our souls, refreshed and invigorated and ready to fulfill our mission yet again, and we realize…

Rabbah emunasecha! Great is His faithfulness in us!

He believes in us, trusts that today we will do better, today we will justify His never-ending confidence in us. By restoring our souls, He indicates that we are up to the task.

And with this foundation, we are ready to face the day ahead!

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