Getting out of bed in the morning is generally a two-step process. After we wake up, we stretch out on the bed in order to break the bonds of sleep from our muscles. We thank Hashem for this capability when reciting the blessing matir asurim, “Who frees the imprisoned.”
After we have woken up sufficiently to get out of bed, we stand up and straighten ourselves. This removes us completely from the world of sleep. We thank Hashem for this action when reciting zokef kefufim, “Who straightens the bent.”
Although the order of most of the morning blessings is not significant, regarding these two we should make sure to recite them in order (Shulchan Aruch 46,5). After we have thanked Hashem for straightening the bent, we may no longer thank Him for freeing us from the shackles of sleep when we initially woke up. If we erroneously recite zokef kefufim before matir assurim, we should try to hear matir assurim from someone else and answer Amen (Mishna Berura 46,20).
Some opinions say that the same rule holds true for the three berachos shelo asani goy, eved, isha (who did not me create me as a member the other nations of the world, a slave, or a woman). Since each blessing thanks Hashem for giving a higher level of mitzvah observance, one precludes the other, and we should make sure to recite them in order. However, many opinions do not consider the order crucial, and permit the complete recitation of all three even if one began with the wrong blessing (Mishna Berura 46,16).
Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org