A NEW DAY: good morning

MORNING RITUALS

My dear friend Annie asked me to write down and send her my morning Jewish rituals. Here they are, as of now. Someone somewhere along the line told me this is what a Jew is supposed to do upon awakening. As I did not grow up observant, I have been adding Jewish observances a little at a time, learning as I go. There are a few other morning rituals and blessings which I am slowly adding, but I started with just these. 

Upon awakening, 
Straight away- say out loud, or at least whisper with a little breath passing from lips : 

the MODEH ANI Prayer 
(* audio/video is provided at the “P.S.” so you have reference)

This prayer basically thanks G-d for another day of life. Here it is transliterated from Hebrew followed by an English translation.

Modeh Ani   
Lefonecha 
Melech Chai
Vekayam,
Shehechezarta
Bi Nishmahti
Bechemlah  
Rabah
Emunatecha

I give thanks
to You
Living and eternal King,
for You have returned
my soul to me  
with compassion
How great 
is your faithfulness

2. The second morning ritual I do is to say “I accept the mitzvah to love my fellow as myself”.

I was delighted to take on this custom done by some Jewish communities before prayer. 

I love these two morning rituals. First thing before getting out of bed, right after we open our eyes, we remind ourselves to be grateful. I’ve recently begun studying with a new teacher, a lovely young woman named *Hindy. She explained that the first two Modeh Ani prayer words have interesting significance. In normal spoken Hebrew, the proper way to say thank you is, like in English,  I – THANK YOU  or in Hebrew,  ANI (I) – MODEH (thank you)But in the prayer, it is reversed from the proper grammar saying instead,  THANK YOU – I  or  MODEH – ANI.  Hindy explained that we reverse it because before we even think of I/me/myself…we acknowledge a greater universal principle and the idea of something bigger than ourselves, that being GRATITUDE and surrender. Only after we stretch beyond ourselves, do we bring ourselves in. YET, we do bring ourselves in. In this understanding, WE MATTER, the “I” matters…with the gentle messaging to put the “I” in proper perspective.

I also love that one of the first mitzvahs we take on each day can be to love our fellow as ourself.

It’s already become easy to say these words by rote; I challenge myself to bring in deeper meaning and let these ritual words carry my intention through the day.

Before I say the third “tricky” ritual, here’s something interesting about my new teacher. Hindy’s family hosted our first Shabbat, which I wrote about in THE SABBATH QUEEN. Meaning, I first met Hindy when she was just three years old! I was a young mom of a four and one year old, and now she teaches me in depth about prayers, mitzvahs and blessings. This, though she insists she is not teaching, that we are learning together. 😊

 3. Now here’s the tricky part. There is a Jewish directive to wake up like a lion, get out of bed quickly, and start the day with exuberance.  Be strong as a lion when you wake up in the morning to serve your Creator.” This idea comes from the Code of Jewish Law.

I don’t do number #3.

I don’t have the self discipline.

To be honest, I don’t have the willingness.

….Yet?

I am willing to be willing. If I ever find the morning lion in me, I will let you know. I hope I do. 😳 🦁 🥰

Love, Vivi

P.S. * Here is the Modeh Ani prayer to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine” which is how I first learned it. It can be said in many different styles. Please excuse the bouncing camera. 🙂  ©

💖 Your comments and stories are always welcome! If you know anyone who might appreciate this story, please feel free to share this. 🥰

Judaic and Hebrew Teacher: Hindy Deitsch. Virtual learning available. Email at [email protected] 

“Prayers Upon Awakening” from Chabad.org   
“It’s Not Just About Gratitude” from My Jewish Learning
“Starting the Day” from Aish.com 
“Modeh Ani: What and Why” from Chabad.org
Cover Photo by Mana5280, Two Children Photo by Ben White, Thank you Photo by Daniel Andrade , Modeh Ani Video courtesy of Home movies 🙂

7 thoughts on “A NEW DAY: good morning

  1. Malkie says:

    I love how part of your journey comes full circle in this story! And waking up like a lion… I have yet a long way there. Thanks for the reminder, it’s always good to have a goal to be working towards even if it feels very far away:)

    • Vivi says:

      Malkie, Yes, such a surprise! Hindy of course is a delight. And the lion? My younger son took it on a bit literally, and when he’d wake up, no matter how early?, he’d “yell out”. I couldn’t bear asking him to stop because though it’d wake me up, I loved how playfully he was taking it on. I think he was directly influenced by M.T. Lol! Thank you so much for your comment!

    • Vivi says:

      Malkie, Yes, such a surprise! Hindy of course is a delight. And the lion? My younger son took it on a bit literally, and when he’d wake up, no matter how early?, he’d “yell out”. I couldn’t bear asking him to stop because though it’d wake me up, I loved how playfully he was taking it on. I think he was directly influenced by M.T. Lol! Thank you so much for your comment! 🧡

  2. dawni'el ben leib halevi says:

    Even with the Modeh facing me on my bedside, I sometimes forget (and worse, sometimes don’t feel all that grateful). In re facing the day like a lion, Franz Rosenzweig, Jewish philosopher and baal tsuvah, I was taught, when asked if he would accept this or that mitzva he did not already observe, would answer “Not yet.” You are in good company with “Yet?” Next step, drop the question mark 🙂

    • Vivi says:

      Thank you Dawni’el ben leib halevi for your positive perspective about “not yet”! It’s inspiring and I will take it to heart. Re the mornings, I also sometimes don’t “feel” grateful. I recently heard a new perspective on the Modeh Ani which is impacting my prayer. In brief it said, though a part of us may not feel grateful, there is a deeper essential part of us that is always grateful – whether or not we feel it. I like it and am going with it! Thank you again for your comments and sharing the Franz Rosenzweig story.

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