The next two blessings, #7 & 8 of Birkat Hashachar acknowledge G-d, Hashem as the Matir Assurim – ‘who releases the constrained’ and Zokayf Kefufim – ‘who straightens up the bent’. After thanking Hashem for opening our eyes and providing clothing, we now focus on our actual awakening from sleep and our actively arising from bed and stepping into our day.
HaRav Yaakov Emden in his Siddur Bait Yaakov explains that in addition to the basic understanding that G-d releases us from our constrained condition of sleep; the blessing also alludes to Divine assistance to resist temptations we face throughout the day. As we arise we proclaim that just as G-d has helped us overcome our (strong) urge to remain in bed, so too may He help us withstand all other temptations so that we will proceed positively and effectively throughout the day.
We also thank G-d for being Zokayf Kefufim– He straightens the bent. There are too many people in the world that have physical ailments that preclude them from physically straightening up. When one is blessed to actually be able to physically arise, he/she proclaims G-d is the Zokayf Kefufim– He straightens the bent.
Regarding this blessing Rav Emden writes that the blessing also refers to the troubles and challenges we may be facing in life. So as we arise and express gratitude to G-d for fueling our physical straightening up, we beseech Hashem to assist us in straightening out the myriad of challenges we may confront in our lives.
Take Home Tip: The function of the reciting of blessings is to encourage and facilitate the recognition of divine benevolence we experience in our lives. Since it is SO EASY to not notice and thereby disregard G-d’s kindness, our sages instituted the gift of Berachos – Blessings. Blessings enable us to achieve a better awareness and appreciation of the multitude of gifts we enjoy each day like arising from our slumber and physically straightening up on our feet.
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, Congregation Sons of Israel, Cherry Hill, New Jersey for Tefillah Tips
Orthodox Union Department of Community Services
Frank Buchweitz, National Director
Hannah Farkas, Program Associate
Adina Tabak, Administrative Assistant