This series has focused on the connection between the morning blessings
and the individual's daily renewal of spiritual energy and purpose. This installment
discusses the tenth blessing.
"Baruch ata …roka
ha'aretz al hamayim."
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d,
King of the universe,
who spreads forth the earth above the waters
that we have potential and ability, purpose and courage (blessings
4-9), we could easily fall prey to the trap of complacency. In actuality, however,
we have reached a crucial turning point; we must ask ourselves, does all of our
growth and development really serve any purpose to Him, G-d, the Omnipotent?
we are immeasurably insignificant in comparison to G-d, we nevertheless possess
the capability to serve Him. This, however, is only because, in His kindness,
G-d has revealed Himself within this world and through the Torah indicating His
desire to have a dwelling-place on this lowest of all planes. He designed the
Creation to give us a place to put our feet, a stage from which to function. He
has "spread the earth above the water."
"earth" in Hebrew) is related to the word ratz (meaning "run");
the Midrash teaches that the earth is so called because it ran to do G-d's will.
In this context, "earth" is a metaphor for action that stems from choice.
Water, on the other hand, flows from higher to lower levels and symbolizes the
"top down" revelation of G-d-liness; this is related to doing G-d's
will automatically, since in the face of revelation there is no possibility of
In the higher worlds "water", the unquestioning
fulfillment of the divine will, is above "earth", i.e. the fulfillment
of the divine will out of choice. In this world, however, "land" is
above "water"; our sense of free choice is not overwhelmed by the illumination
of constant revelation. When we awaken each morning we should reflect upon the
great favor the Al-mighty has done for us by spreading the earth above the water,
thereby allowing us to serve Him willingly, and not merely as a matter of course.
For this reason King David proclaimed, "He spreads the earth above the waters,
for His kindness is everlasting" (Psalms 136).
Leiter is the executive director
This series is translated and adapted from Meah Shearim
and other sources