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 thirteenth blessing.
ata …ozair yisrael b'gevurah."
"Blessed are You,
L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who girds Israel with might."
blessing "Who girds Israel with might" refers on the individual level
to putting on a belt (or sash, or any "tightener"). By separating between
our upper and lower parts, we remind ourselves of higher goals. "Like the
girdle clings to the loins, so the Jewish people will cling to me" [Jer.
During prayer, men are obliged to make this separation between the
lower, more sensual half of the body and the upper half with its spiritual centers.
But if G-d created our bodies, why should this separation be necessary? The answer
is that just as shoes represent our dominance over the external, physical plane,
so "dividers" remind us that we can take charge of our less refined
desires. The belt, that for other peoples is a carrier of tools and weapons, is
itself for the Jew a "weapon" or vehicle to gain self-mastery.
Shaul Leiter is the executive
director of Ascent-of-Safed.
This series is translated and adapted from Meah Shearim
and other sources