Morning Blessings: Elul Kavanot: Baruch Ata Hashem
“When a person uses his breath to bless the Holy One, Blessed is He, and sanctifies Him with, “Asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav,”
“Who sanctifies us with His commandments,” and unifies Him with His Presence as he recites, “Hashem, Elokeinu,” “God, our Lord,” the Holy One, Blessed is He, descends and rests on the person to guard him in his many states (Zohar II, 119a).”
The Zohar points out the stages of a blessing, and how each represents a different state or encampment: 1) Blessing, 2) Sanctification, and 3) Unification.
Blessing is seizing every possible opportunity to expand one’s knowledge, awareness, and connection to the Infinite Source of all blessing. It is an encampment in the sense that one must intend on living in such a state, and that it prepares a person for the next stage.
Sanctification is the ability to use the expansiveness of blessing to connect this world to the spiritual realms. It is a stage that can only be reached by one who has first reached Blessing/Expansiveness. The real expansiveness can only be achieved by connecting across boundaries to the eternal realities of the Spiritual realms. This stage too, is an encampment, a stage that is reached and then prepares for the next.
When the person successfully bridges the physical and spiritual worlds, he has Unified the Infinite, “Hashem,” with “Elokeinu,” the Divine Presence as manifested in this world, and can then receive God’s protection of all the stages of his development and spiritual growth.
Elul is the month of Teshuva and repair. It is our opportunity to reconnect all the levels of relationship severed by the mistakes of the past.
We begin Elul at the stage of Blessing; Moshe going up Sinai for his third trip to receive the Second Luchot.
We then go to the stage of Sanctification, in which we understand that our behavior during this trip can repair our behavior during Moshe’s first trip, crossing the boundaries of time.
We then merit the unification of Yom Kippur, when we receive the Second Tablets and the opportunity to construct a home for the Divine Presence, the Mishkan.