Saturday, June 29, 2013

Modeh Ani – An Overview by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

5tjt    [...] The Mishna Brurah quotes it and writes, “When we arise in the morning we say, ‘Modeh Ani lefanecha, melech chai v’kayam, shehechezarta bi nishmasi b’chemla, rabah emunasecha.’ This means, ‘Before You, I thank you, O’ living and everlasting King, that You have returned my soul to me in mercy.. How great is your faithfulness!’

Why do we say this? The reason is that our bodies are not just hydro-carbon based cells, proteins, water and minerals.  We are also imbued with a Neshama, a soul, – called in Sefer Iyov a “Chailek Elokah Mimaal. – A Divine portion from Above.”  When we sleep at night, our Neshamos leave our physical bodies and arise to Heaven.  Hashem in His Chemla – kindness, returns our Neshama to us when we wake up in the morning.  The Modeh Ani is a way of expressing gratitude which makes us into better people, but it is also more than this.  There is an element of yearning for Geulah in it too.
The last words, “Great is your faithfulness is based upon a verse in Aicha (3:23), “They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.”  The Psikta Zutrasa explains that since each and every morning You renew our souls, we know that in the future You will redeem us as well.

The words “that You have returned my soul to me” come from the Avudraham, a Spanish Rishon, in his Hilchos Krias Shma.  Yet, he did not advocate this formula as something to recite each morning upon awakening.  It seems that the author of the Seder HaYom combined these elements together in conceiving of the Modeh Ani. [...]

4 comments :

  1. Patrick DavidoviciJune 29, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    When you say : "A Divine portion from Above" It is heresy to suggest that G-d has parts.
    Thank you for all what you are doing for us.
    Be well.

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  2. It is a strong Jewish belief that any verse in Tanach is not considered heresy. Obviously, it is understood kavyachol..

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  3. "We are also imbued with a Neshama, a soul, – called in Sefer Iyov a “Chailek Elokah Mimaal. – A Divine portion from Above.”

    That is not the plain meaning of the posuk. Since few people learn Iyov, it is easy for them to be fooled about it, but it is still very wrong and improper for Rabbi Yair Hoffman to write such a misleading thing, implying that that is the plain meaning of the verse.

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  4. Mr. Patrick, you might want to learn some more about Judaism before you jump to conclusions about what is classified as heresy, thereby relegating vast numbers of G-d-fearing Jews to such an objectionable status.

    It's indeed not the plain meaning, but that pirush quoted is based on sources in Kabbalah (sefer Shefa Tal at the beginning), and, of course, Chassidus: Tanya ch. 2, which quote that verse and explain it as referring to the Neshamah.

    In any case, see my post on the topic: Modeh Ani: Inviolate and ineffable

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