Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Seder Hayom (2): Kadesh Li Kol Bechor

I haven't written a halacha/seder hayom post since the first Modeh Ani post, so here goes.

In the Halacha Learning Program we have already learned the halachos of washing negel vasser immediately upon arising in the morning. In the sifrei avodah and Chassidus, however, we find that Divine service begins even before washing one's hands.

The first moments of the day are particularly propitious for connecting oneself to the will of Hashem. The Cherbobyler Magid wrote to one of his chassidim that "when one awakes in the morning, his mind is clean and clear from all the confusion of the world, and he is able to connect his thoughts with the Thought, so to speak, of the Creator (Likutei Torah, Hadracha 4).

 Here is an excerpt from a letter of the Rebbe, shlit"a (free translation):
"Exert yourself as much as you are able to sanctify the beginning of the day. The first thought when you wake up in the morning should revolve around kedusha, so too the first speech and first action.They should all be in avodas Hashem, for the foundation of the entire day is in its beginning, as is brought in seforim hakedoshim the concept of kadesh li kol bechor - 'Sanctify to Me every firstborn' (Shemos 13:2)."

And in a different letter the Rebbe expounds in more depth:
"You will find in the sifrei haChassidus an great and important idea that prepares a person to manage all the affairs of the day in a straight path of holiness. Concentrate deliberate effort to sanctify the three garments of the neshama (which are thought, speech and deed) immediately upon awakening from sleep. This means that your first thought should be a thought of purity, that your first words be words of holiness, and the first deed that you perform should be a good deed. And if you sanctify thus the beginning of the day, as it says "consecrate to Me every beginning (lit. firstborn)", then you will run your dealings throughout the entire day in a manner of purity and kedusha."
I'm sure that this concept shows up in more than one place, but one of the sifrei haChassidus that the Rebbe may have been referring to is Derech Pikudecha from the Bnei Yisaschar. In Mitzva 18, Chelek Hamachshava, 5, he writes:
"'Sanctify to Me every firstborn', we are obligated every day to subjugate all of our "beginnings" to Hashem, meaning, the beginning of our thoughts from when we arise from our beds. Immediately contemplate the dominion of Hashem and His rulership over us, and how he restores to us our souls. So too, the beginning of our speech and the beginning of our actions. The beginning is the foundation for everything, for "[he is his initial vigor,] to him is the right of the firstborn" and after [the beginning] are drawn all the branches in all of their various matters, in though, speech and action throughout the entire day."

The next post in this series will be about the sanctifying the first thoughts in particular, and the  path the Cherkasser and the Rebbe Reb Motele set forth in this area. Also, at a later opportunity, I hope to post about the preparation that is required during the night before in order to enable us to sanctify the first moments of the morning.

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