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What is Modeh Ani?

by Rabbi Yosef Resnick

  

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“Modeh Ani” is a short prayer of thanksgiving in which we thank G-d for returning our souls to us in the morning. It is recited as soon as we open our eyes, while still lying in bed.

Mo-deh ah-nee li-fa-necha Melech chai vi-kayam she-he-che-zarta bee nish-mah-tee bi-chem-lah ra-bah emu-nah-te-cha.
[I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.]1 

Modeh Ani is said as soon as we awaken so that by remembering G-d’s omnipresence as soon as we open our eyes we will be ready to serve G-d with alacrity. Modeh Ani lays the foundation for a day of doing mitzvahs with joy and enthusiasm. We also are hopeful that this cognizance of G-d’s constant presence will remain with us all day long, as we go through our day-to-day affairs—keeping is on the straight path.

Modeh Ani not only proclaims our faith in G-d, but also His faith in us. This instills a sense of sacred value to our life: I didn't just wake up; G-d awoke me, because He has a purpose for me. He has faith in me.

Footnotes

  • 1. Since we must say Modeh Ani as soon as we awaken, most people memorize it or hang the text next to their beds where they will see it in the morning.

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