Speaking of waking up in the morning, the Shulchan Aruch discusses next the ancient practice of waking up in the middle of the night to recite special prayers called ‘tikun chatzos’ (lit. the rectification of mid-night). The theme of these prayers is supplication to Hashem to bring an end to the exile and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. Even if one is not able to do this – and most are not, because they must sleep a whole night in order to be strong, healthy and productive – every Jew should learn at least two lessons from this practice and try to incorporate them into his routine and consciousness: 1) Be concerned and worried* about the situation of the ‘galus’ (exile) and the continued destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, and beg Hashem for the Redemption, and 2) Wake up early before davening in order to prepare yourself properly – physically and spiritually - for tefilah. If possible, learn something beforehand, or at least say some extra supplications (e.g. ‘Tehillim’ - Psalms).
(*The Mishnah Berura adds to make sure, however, that Torah is studied and tefilah is offered with joy!)
In addition, take these jewels from the Mishnah Berura (paraphrased by yours truly) with you as you go through your day:
- “What matters to Hashem most is whether a person is doing what he is capable of doing.”
- A person should set a fixed time every single day to learn ‘mussar’ (ethical instruction from our Sages) from a ‘sefer’ (text), because this is the antidote for the ‘yetzer harah’ (evil inclination). In fact, the greater the person, the greater the need (for ‘mussar’)!
For this lesson, you will need an English Artscroll Siddur. We will attempt to familiarize ourselves with certain pages and sections which are omitted in a standard minyan. The reason they are printed in the Siddur is because of what is written in these halachos. The reason they are omitted by most congregations is because they are described in the halacha as “good” to be said, implying that they are not obligatory. The order we will list them is according to their page number in the Siddur, not necessarily in the order they are taught in the Shulchan Aruch. The Mishnah Berura gives little insights into why some of these sections are beneficial to be said (indicated by the abbreviation MB:)