Hashkamat haboker

Getting up in the morning

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, November 1, 2010

There is a Jewish way to get up in the morning - at once!

The Shulchan Aruch code famously begins with the words, "A person should be mighty as a lion to rise in the morning in order to serve his Creator, so that he should awaken the dawn." Not like a sloth or a turtle, as one of my kids recently suggested. Not after turning over, smacking the snooze button, and promising oneself only another 10 more minutes under the duvet, but now.

The Chofetz Chayim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (1838-1933), apparently understoood that for many people this is easier said than done. In his great commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, the Mishnah Berurah, the Chofetz Chayim elaborates on the words "to serve his Creator", explaining "because this is what a person was created for. So if his inclination says to him in the winter "It's so cold, how am I to get up in this freezing weather?… overcome it and don't listen."

This is what a person was created for. As oppressive thoughts of feeding the cat, making the sandwiches, the awkward staff meeting this afternoon etc begin to crowd around your bed, try and remember, says the Chofetz Chayim, that your getting up now has a higher purpose than all that, in fact, the highest purpose there is - to serve your Creator.

Last updated: 11:35am, November 1 2010