Modah Ani: A 2020 Thanksgiving Reflection, for All Those Alone

November 24, 2020

By Rabbi Dr. Jon Kelsen for eJewish Philanthropy

I thank you, eternally living King! For You have returned within me my soul, with compassion; Your faithfulness is great!

The prayer Modah [Modeh] Ani was authored by 16th century Safed kabbalist, R. Moshe b. Makhir. Now canonized in Jewish prayerbooks around the world, it makes no explicit mention of God’s name (perhaps because it was designed to be recited prior to the morning ablutions, prior to which it is prohibited to address the Divine by name). Its power lies in its succinctness- it is comprised of a mere twelve words- and, more to the point, its simplicity.

For all those alone this Thanksgiving, I share here a brief meditation. Focusing upon just the first three words of Modah Ani -pacing its recital at the rate of one in breath and one out breath per word- can help incline one towards a day filled with thanks and giving alike.

Modah. Ani. Lefankeha.


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