“I Tried It!” – Modeh Ani
4 weeks ago Hannah Butcher 0
For two weeks, I said Modeh Ani, one of the most important Jewish prayers, before I began each day. And G-d proved to me, yet again, that everything happens for reason.
I began my goal with the intent that, by thanking G-d as soon as I woke up, I would train myself into appreciating each and every moment I received. Modeh Ani, after all, is the daily prayer that thanks G-d for simply existing—for being given the gift of life. Judaism is full of subtle simplicities that carry an undeniable sense of meaning, and I knew I wanted to include this feeling in my daily life. So, with the morning light streaming through my curtains, I whispered Modeh Ani in Hebrew and followed it in English.
I got more than what I asked for. For half of my challenge, I felt exceedingly thankful for being able to complete daily tasks life asked of me; during the other half of my trial, however, I was admitted to the hospital due to a flare up of my autoimmune disease. If it wasn’t for keeping up with the Modeh Ani prayer, I would have felt spiritually lost.
In the cold, sanitized hospital room, I was reminded of Tu B’Shvat, in which we celebrate Hashem’s creations in nature—the birthday of the trees. All of Hashem’s creations have a purpose, no matter if it is a small seed or towering oak tree. Last week, I was a seed asking G-d to give me strength in order to grow from the struggles inside of my body. He placed a soul in all creations, and he chose to have my soul return each morning. Praying challenged me to thank God for giving me my soul, even in my weakest, most vulnerable state, back to my body.
Overall, my experience was a positive one. I know that, every day I open my eyes, I will thank G-d for giving me my neshama, my soul, which is necessary for me to perform mitzvahs and connect with G-d Himself. Taking thirty seconds out of my morning each day completely shifted my perspective and allowed me to focus on my blessings.
If you would like to take up this challenge, the Modeh Ani prayer and English translation is below. I challenge you all to try it out for yourself.
מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ, מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם, שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי
.בְּחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ
I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.