Psalm 108

Awake, O harp and lyre! I will wake the dawn. (108:3)

Of course we know that the human being doesn’t wake up the musical instruments or the dawn, but rather the instruments – the alarm clock – or the dawn wakes up the human being. The Psalmist, however, chose to imagine a moment in which reality is holding its breath, waiting for him to turn on the power, as it were. I’m thinking of my summers at camp or time spent on a retreat in a rural location. I’m seeing that precise moment in the morning when consciousness returns, before anyone’s alarm clock rings, before the sun rises, when everything is quiet.

There is a quiet so completely still that it feels like even nature is asleep. At a retreat in a peaceful camp-like setting, I arise and dress and head to minyan early. I’m the only one outside, and as dawn breaks and the birds begin chirping, it is a concert for my enjoyment alone.

At that moment, an early morning blessing comes to life: Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha-olam, “who gave the rooster the consciousness to distinguish between day and night.”

Good morning, world! It’s nice to see you again, and thank you for the wonderful show you’re putting on for me this morning.

I am aware that some people are not morning people and might not be enthusiastic about greeting the dawn. Truthfully, while I often awake early, I would sometimes prefer to go back to sleep. But most of the time I shoulder my responsibility and get out of bed to wake up the dawn. After all, aside from the winters in extreme regions, we wouldn’t want the sun sleeping the whole day, would we?

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