Morning Blessings For the Nine Days & Tisha B’Av Part 1
How does one pray with joy during the Nine Days and on Tisha B’Av? I offer the following Kavanot for the Morning Blessings for this time of year:
“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your Lord, Whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.
Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den.
When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your Lord, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “O king, live forever!
My Lord sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.
They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight.
Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den.
And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God (Daniel 6:16-23).”
What did Daniel experience when he realized that he was safe?
How did Darius respond to the fact that Daniel was still alive?
We can use this blessing to rejoice in the fact that we are alive for another day, ready to continue to fight for life and redemption.
“I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge God (Hosea 2:19-20).”
The Abudirham associates the verses above with this blessing: we celebrate the unbreakable bound between God and Israel that is compared to the relationship between a husband and wife. We raise our hands as if to show that we still carry the betrothal ring given to us at Sinai.
“By wisdom God laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew (Proverbs 3:19-20).”
The wisdom of, “Who fashioned man with wisdom,” is the same wisdom with which God laid the foundations of the earth. We need only look to the functioning of our bodies to experience this wisdom and know that we can rely on that wisdom to protect us.
- “It is obvious and known before Your Throne of Glory.” Why do we speak of our bodily functioning as being before God’s Throne of Glory?
“When the Ark of God had been in Philistine territory seven months, the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the Ark of God? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.”
They answered, “If you return the Ark of the Lod of Israel, do not send it away empty, but by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you.”
The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to Him?” They replied, “Five gold hemorrhoids and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the hemorrhoids and of the rats that are destroying the country, and pay honor to Israel’s Lord. Perhaps He will lift His hand from you and your gods and your land.
Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When he treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way? “Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up.
Take the Ark of God and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then God has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance.” So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves.
They placed the Ark of God on the cart and along with it the chest containing the gold rats and the models of the hemorrhoids.
Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.
Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight.
The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to God.
The Levites took down the Ark of God, together with the chest containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock.
On that day the people of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to God.
The five rulers of the Philistines saw all this and then returned that same day to Ekron. These are the gold hemorrhoids the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to God–one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers–the fortified towns with their country villages (I Samuel 6:1-18).”
The hemorrhoids the Philistines sent were eventually placed in the Holy of Holies!
Even when we, Israel, are in our lowest state, we still stand before God’s Throne of Glory.
My Lord, the soul You placed within me:
“I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us (Geronimo, Apache Leader).”
The complexity of our Higher Souls and the process of creation, formation, and making, are powerful indications of our significance. Even in the darkest moments of exile, we have derived our meaning from God and not from the way we are treated by others.
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