Birchos HaShachar: Who Releases the Bound

מתיר אסורים
…Who releases the bound.

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Our mobility and our ability to move the various parts of our bodies is one of those great gifts in life that too often go unappreciated.  Whether we have full mobility or are limited, this brachah is our opportunity to be thankful for the mobility we do have.

If we have full mobility without constraints, we are amongst the most fortunate in the world.  There are people who need walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs.  There are people who cannot move their arms or hands or fingers freely.  And there are people who can only move one or a select few parts of their bodies.

Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz, born with a smile on his face and who, throughout his life, focused on making others happy, has a severe form of ALS.  Ninety-five percent of his body is paralyzed.  He can communicate only through his eyes and eyelids, which can form letters painstakingly one by one through a computer.  Rabbi Yitzi actually “writes” uplifting and inspiring divrei Torah each Thursday for Shabbos.  It takes him all day to “write” it and he is totally exhausted after he finishes.  I don’t know this for a fact but, based on what we do know about Rabbi Yitzi, I would imagine when he thinks this brachah, he is extremely grateful for the ability to communicate through his eyes, and he contemplates it with great kavanah and passion.

How about the rest of us?  Are we as passionately thankful for being able to move our eyes, hands, mouth, legs, feet, etc?

How about emotional bondage?  There are so many who unfortunately suffer from emotional bondage.  Emotional bondage can affect our lives even more than physical constraints.  Are we thankful for whatever degree of emotional health we enjoy?

As we continue to contemplate and write about these Birchos HaShachar, I continue to wonder how we can recite these brachos in anything under three to five minutes.  More likely, it takes us less than one minute.  For men, we must keep pace with our minyan.  However, we can always get a head start and spend at least a little more time contemplating the awesome gifts that Hashem bestows upon us each time we wake up with the degree of mobility and mental health we enjoy.  The more we contemplate how fortunate we truly are as we recite these brachos, the greater our passion, appreciation, and gratitude to Hashem will be.  This will lead us to increase k’vod Shamayim as we passionately thank and praise Hashem, which leads us to d’veikus and eventually to delighting in Hashem eternally in the next world, all of which is a big part of our purpose in life, “enabling” Hashem to continue to bestow His loving-kindness upon us now and for eternity, which is why He created us.