Welcome to Divrei Chizuk! Bringing the Bais HaMikdash down 1 brick+ at a time
I thank You Hashem

Modeh Ani


Modeh ani lefaneicha melech chai v'kayam shehechezarta bi nishmati bechemlah - rabbah emunatecha

I gratefully thank You, O living and eternal King, for You have returned my soul within me with compassion - abundant is Your faithfulness!

This time let me gracefully thank Hashem. (29:35)

Gratitude is an inherently Jewish characteristic. The Chidushei HaRim asserts that we are called Yehudim after Yehudah,

because we give thanks to the Almighty. We wake up in the morning, and the first thing that we recite, our very first prayer of the day, is

"Modeh Ani lefanecha melech chai v’kayam shehechezarta bi nishmasi b’chemlah rabbah emunasecha"
“Thank you, living andeternal king, for mercifully returning my soul within me"
Great is your faithfulness.” The Jew begins his day with hodaah, giving thanks.
I recently read a short vignette about this very special, meaningful prayer. There was a convention of neurologists from all over the globe who gathered to discuss a variety of neurological issues. One of the primary topics was the phenomenon of people fainting upon rising from bed. One of the speakers, a female neurologist, delivered results from the latest findings that this fainting is caused by the sharp transfer of positions from lying down to standing up. She calculated that it takes approximately twelve seconds for the blood to flow from the feet to the head, and when a person stands up upon awakening, the blood is thrown too quickly to the brain, creating a fainting spell.
Her suggestion was simple: upon waking up, one should sit on the bed for twelve seconds, count to twelve and then stand up. This approach will prevent dizziness and fainting. This seems like a simple solution to a pressing problem. Indeed, everybody applauded her solution.

Another professor, who happened to be a Torah-observant Jew, asked for permission to address the assemblage. He said, “We Jews have a tradition that dates back thousands of years. We recite a prayer of thanksgiving to the Almighty every morning upon waking up. We offer our gratitude for having merited to wake up healthy and whole. The prayer is called Modeh Ani. It is recited while one is still on the bed and sitting up. The prayer consists of twelve words, and – if you concentrate and say it slowly-- it takes exactly twelve seconds to say.”

When we begin the day recognizing our greatest Benefactor, we go through the day with an altogether different outlook: one of deep-rooted gratitude to Hashem for all that He does for us. Hodaah has another meaning: to give eminence or majesty, hod. In Sefer Tehillim 18:11, David Hamelech says, Vayede al kanfei ruach, “He flew high on the wings of the wind.” In another pasuk in Tanach, the word “hodaah” is used to mean “lifting up” or “carrying”. Thus, the same word which is used to thank is also used to give eminence, to elevate.

Horav Avigdor Miller, zl, derives a fundamental principle from here. When we have cause to thank, pay  gratitude to a benefactor, we become dutibound to study his eminence, to elevate him and to recognize his virtues. This is all part of gratitude. When we recognize the need to thank Hashem, we, in turn, apply ourselves to acknowledging His eminence.