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