Guest Author - Lisa Pinkus
The first moments of rising are crucial for setting the tone of one’s day. Some people begin their day with a peaceful yoga practice. Others will take time to meditate or spend some quiet time planning their day. Some roll out of bed grumbling and continue on like that throughout the day. It is no surprise that the Jewish tradition has guidelines for ensuring we don’t get up on the wrong side of the bed.
Jewish life consistently works to make the mundane activities of everyday life extraordinary and meaningful. Sleep is no different. It is an opportunity to care for our physical body, allowing it to rest and recharge. It is also an opportunity to refresh and revitalize our soul.
Sleep is viewed as a gift from G-d and is a time when our soul returns to the Heavens. When we wake in the morning, our souls have been restored to our bodies. We now have another day to continue to do the work we are here to do.
Before we even get out of bed, we recite Modeh Ani, I give thanks. Traditionally, we do not utter blessings prior to the ritual morning hand washing. Modeh Ani, however, specifically excludes the name of G-d so that it can be recited before doing anything else in the morning.
Like the gratitude journal you may complete at the end of your day, the recitation of Modeh Ani is an opportunity to express your appreciation for another day to do G-d’s work. It is a prayer of thanksgiving that can lay the foundation for your day.
Modeh ani l’fanecha melech chai v’kayam she’heh’chezarta bi nishmati b’chemla raba emunatecha (Hebrew transliteration) translates to: I gratefully thank you eternal King for you have returned my soul within me, with compassion. Abundant is your faithfulness.
In the Code of Jewish Law, the Shulchan Aruch, it is stated: “Be strong as a lion when you wake in the morning to serve your Creator. You be the one to arouse the dawn.” When we wake with intention, gratitude, and without pushing the snooze button too many times – we allot ourselves the opportunity to do more mitzvot, for transforming common moments into uncommon moments, and for living the day with an attitude of gratitude.
Reciting Modeh Ani when you wake up in the morning is a powerful way to start your day. It is a transformational daybreaking habit that is an essential part of our traditional morning prayers.
You can purchase a fun and lovely version of Modeh Ani as part of the Oy Baby 2 CD available at Amazon: