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The first major section of the morning service is called "The Sh'ma and Its Blessings." Yotzeir Or (literally, "Creator of Light") is the first of the three blessings that surround the Sh'ma in this section. The blessing describes God as the creator of the world who is responsible for renewing creation in every moment. The other two blessings around the Sh'ma describe God as the giver of Torah and as the redeemer of the world.

Yotzeir Or includes the declaration, "How great are Your works, Adonai! You made them all with wisdom! The world is full of Your creations!" It is, in many ways, a challenging statement. When we look at the world, we do not always see that it is filled with great things. The world that contains beautiful sunsets and magnificent creatures also contains diseases, disasters and human suffering. Can this blessing mean to say that those things are great and made with wisdom, too?

Here is one way to understand the meaning of the blessing. Not everything in the world is wonderful, but we human beings are particularly prone to seeing bad things and ignoring good things. The blessing serves to remind us to notice the miracles that surround us – the gift of loving and being loved, the ability to learn and to understand the world around us, the miracle of each new day we get to be alive. 

Here is another perspective. The blessing reminds us that things that seem terrible also are part of God's plan. If we lived in a perfect world with no challenges or hardships, we would have no ambitions or striving to make the world better. If the world had to be good all the time, then human beings would not have the free will to make good choices. If there were no such thing as death, younger generations would never have a chance to take responsibility for the future with their own hopes and aspirations.

The Yotzeir Or blessing teaches us to appreciate the world as it is and it inspires us to see the blessings in each moment.

In our prayerbook Mishkan T'filah, Yotzeir Or can be found on:
     page 228 in the student copy
     page 110 in the congregant copy

Yotzeir Or
(full recording)


Yotzeir Or v.1


Yotzeir Or v.2


Yotzeir Or v.3


Yotzeir Or v.4


Yotzeir Or v.5



Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784