Shabbat Inspirations July 9

Awake in Awe and Appreciate- The Rooster at Dawn By Jeanie Gruber

Tired from traveling I was awakened during what I thought was pitch darkness by what sounded like a rooster right below my “urban” window. At first I tried to ignore it, but its persistence kept me from falling back asleep. I was mildly amused.

The second night, the same thing occurred. This time I listened a little more intently – hearing the solid strength of the rooster’s call…. it’s melodious pacing.

The third time, I decided to open my eyes right away, sit up and explore what was happening with the darkness.

I was wowed; I was awed. Slowly the rooster’s melody unselfconsciously coordinated with the openings of light. I was lost in the process, and became unaware of time. I was aware of Dawn’s magnificent colors.

Admittedly on the fourth morning I had fallen passionately in love with the Rooster and Dawn. For a month, I woke up with “my” beloved rooster, engaged with the developing light, awaiting the varied and vibrant colors that became Dawn.

Back in Boston, I was recalling this experience to a friend.  She said “As well as the Modeh Ani prayer, which gives thanks to my G-d for restoring my soul unto my body, do you know there is a  Jewish prayer first thing in the morning thanking G-d for the Rooster?

“Baruch ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech ha olam asher natan la sechvi bina l’havchin bain yom u’vain laila” …. Blessed are You our God, King of the universe, who has given wisdom to the rooster to distinguish between day and night. 

I was amazed, awed, and appreciative that Judaism prioritizes this magnificent process of the beginning of each day. It celebrates the reliable perceptivity of G-d’s creation of the rooster to function as an alarm clock in days of old- awakening its human counterparts that another blank slate has been presented to each of us. It challenges us to maximize what we will do with this beauty – how we will handle the brilliant “light” of each day? How will we process the “darkness” that steps in front of it?

Some mornings I am awed and not intimidated by the openness of the morning. Other days I find myself narrowing down its vast invitation out of fear/anxiety. If I am able, I encourage myself to return to the Biblical reference of Hineni – “Here I am” – “I am here”.

What is G-d’s will for me today? How can I fulfill my role with You and the magnificent seeds, vegetables, flowers, animals, fish, water, birds, family and humanity all around me? How can I keep myself out of the way of hurting them? 

A big “ask” first thing in the morning – yet for me the centering piece for the day at hand.  As the light flickers, I can return to the foundational grounding that the question/statement Hineni offers.

Whether I am fortunate to be in the rows of a farm, beginning to weed at dawn, or with a cup of coffee in my modest front yard raised bed veggie garden as day breaks – hands and feet in the soil, I find myself most readily able to “catch the wave” and experience the potential very real guidance I receive for the day I have been given. Being in the earth, with the earth, engaged in Creation in these moments of the opening light, I am energized, inspired and invigorated; and called to action.