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ברכות השחר | Birkhot haShaḥar (Morning Blessings), paraliturgical reflections by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman

Source (Hebrew) Paraliturgical Reflection (English)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לַשֶּֽׂכְוִי בִינָה
לְהַבְחִין בֵּין־יוֹם וּבֵין לָֽיְלָה׃
Holy One,
sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed or face the day.
The alarm clock goes off, and my inner rooster is still sleeping.
Yet despite my desire to give up and give in,
I still praise all the blessings in my life.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
שֶׁעָשַׂנִי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
 
 
 
You place me in the company of others who are also wrestling for meaning.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
שֶׁעָשַׂנִי בְּצָלמוֹ׃
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
שֶׁעָשַׂנִי בָּת/בֵּן חוֹרִין׃
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
פּוֹקֵחַ עִוְרִים׃
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, מַלְבִּישׁ עֲרֻמִּים׃
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You have given me self-expression, sight and insight, clothing, shelter, food, sleep, and whatever health I am in today.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
מַתִּיר אֲסוּרִים׃
 
 
 
You break me out of old patterns that don’t serve me anymore.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
רוֹקַע הָאָרֶץ עַל הַמָּיִם׃
 
 
 
You stretch out the shifting earth over the rolling waters,
bringing deep magma from the core to form new earth and seafloor,
and here to the ground where my feet stand.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
זוֹקֵף כְּפוּפִים׃
 
 
 
You love my wounded, bent, shameful parts.
You lift them to the light, forming new growth and opportunities for compassion.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
שֶׁעָשָׂה לִי כׇּל צָרְכִּי׃
 
 
 
You make all my needs.
My scared, reptilian brain that needs safety.
My animal body that needs food and shelter.
My mind that needs meaningful work and stimulation.
My broken heart that needs love.
My soul that needs union with You.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
הַמֵּכִין מִצְעֲדֵי גָבֶר׃
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
אוֹזֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּגְבוּרָה׃
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You guide me toward wise strength and support me with wise strength.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
עוֹטֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתִפְאָרָה׃
 
 
 
You crown me with the potential to balance loving-kindness and boundaries.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
הַנּוֹתֵן לַיָּעֵף כֹּחַ׃
 
 
 
You give me resilience when I am tired.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
הַמַּעֲבִיר שֵׁנָה מֵעֵינַי וּתְנוּמָה מֵעַפְעַפָּי׃
וִיהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
שֶׁתַּרְגִּילֵנוּ בְּתוֹרָתֶֽךָ.
וְדַבְּקֵנוּ בְּמִצְוֺתֶֽיךָ.
וְאַל תְּבִיאֵנוּ לֹא לִידֵי חֵטְא.
וְלֹא לִידֵי עֲבֵרָה וְעָוֺן.
וְלֹא לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן. וְלֹא לִידֵי בִזָּיוֹן.
וְאַל תַּשְׁלֶט בָּנוּ יֵצֶר הָרָע.
וְהַרְחִיקֵנוּ מֵאָדָם רָע וּמֵחָבֵר רָע.
וְדַבְּקֵנוּ בְּיֵצֶר הַטוֹב וּבְמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים.
וְכֹֽף אֶת יִצְרֵנוּ לְהִשְׁתַּעְבֶּד לָךְ.
וּתְנֵנוּ הַיּוֹם וּבְכׇל יוֹם לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ וּבְעֵינֵי כׇל רוֹאֵינוּ.
וְתִגְמְלֵנוּ חֲסָדִים טוֹבִים׃
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ
הַגּוֹמֵל חֲסָדִים טוֹבִים לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
Holy One,
Just as You woke me up this morning
You keep waking me up to greater truth,
even when I would rather stay asleep.
Keep it up, God!
Help me to form good habits in my day.
Habits of compassion, learning, and humble service.
Don’t let me get too far off track, and fall into the hands of stuck patterns and ego trips.
Don’t let my shame gremlins get the last word.
Don’t let my cravings for success, achievement, material goods or approval rule over me.
 
Help me react with equanimity to people and situations that bring out these cravings in me.
Bring me toward those who inspire me to act the way I want to.
Help me get out of my own way and just serve You.
Grant me and all beings grace, loving-kindness, and compassion today and every day.
 
I bless You, Holy One,
bestower of loving-kindness on all beings.

Rabbi Shoshana Meira’s paraliturgical interpretation of the Birkhot haShaḥar (Morning Blessings), is published in her Siddur v’lo Nevosh (2014). Linear correspondence between the Hebrew source and the English by Aharon Varady.

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