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.
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.
I give thanks
Living and eternal King,
for You have returned
my soul to me
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.
I am willing to be willing. If I ever find the morning lion in me, I will let you know. I hope I do. 😳 🦁 🥰
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. 🥰
“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 🙂