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Morning Blessings: Yesod V’Shoresh ha-Avodah:



The 18th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Alexander (ben Moshe) Ziskind, born in Brzhen, but lived most of his life in Horodna (Grodno, Belarus), Lithuania, the product of the teaching of Rav Aryeh Leib Epstein, Rav of Nikolsberg. He authored the mussar work, Yesod V’shoresh Ha’avoda, which contains how one should behave every hour of the day and kavanos for tefillos and mitvos, as well as Karnei Ohr, a commentary on the Zohar. (1700-1794) [Adar II]

 

After one has washed his hands in the morning, before he recites the blessing, he must be very careful to raise his hands separately until the height of his head, and then began to recite the blessing. Raising one’s hands while reciting this blessing brings repair to his soul in the Upper Worlds. It is his way of stating that he will leave on This World, all the while, reaching up to the heavens, striving to attach to the Creator.

Once he has finished his blessing, he should lower his hands, and immediately recite the blessing of Asher Yatzar, and Elokai! Neshama.

Immediately, review the following Zohar (Volume 1, 10b): “When a man wakes in the morning, he should immediately bless his Master. It is forbidden for him to bless if his hands are still impure, and this is true at every moment of the day. At the time when a person sleeps, part of his spirit rises from him, and when that spirit rises a vacuum is created inside, giving space to a Spirit of Impurity. That Impurity rests on his hands and makes them impure. Therefore, he may not bless without washing. And if you will say, if so, I do not sleep during the day, my spirit does not rise from me, and therefore no impurity can come to my hands. Know, woe to people who do not pay attention to everything they are doing, nor are aware of their great obligation to honor their Master, and do not know on what the world stands. For we are not careful with our hands at every moment of the day, we are not aware that we are constantly vulnerable to impurities, that prevent us from praising God with complete respect.”

We must use our washing our hands in the morning as a reminder of respect for the Creator, and the necessary attention we must pay to absolutely everything we do during the day, even to what we touch.

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