Each morning before lifting my head from the pillow and crawling out from beneath cozy covers, these words run through my mind:
“Modeh Ani Lefanecha Melech Chai Vekayam Shehechezarta Be Nishmati Bechemla; Rabba Emunatecha.
I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.”
It is a Hebrew prayer called Modeh Ani and I have been saying it for much of my life. I grew up in a spiritually rich Jewish home in which we practiced what I think of as ‘hands on Judaism’, not just synagogue on Friday nights, but lighting the candles with my parents before services. Not just High Holiday attendance, but living the concepts in our home and community. My parents role modeled volunteerism that I follow to this day, as does my son. Although my father worked long hours, when he was called to participate in a minyan ( a group of 10 needed to say certain prayers, such as when sitting shiva after someone has died), he was there without hesitation, because he knew it was a mitzvah (good deed) and because he knew he was providing comfort and support to fellow congregants. I remember when people showed up for me in that role when my husband and both my parents passed.
Each night before bed, my sister Jan and I recited the signature prayer called The Shema
|Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
|Barukh sheim k’vod malkhuto l’olam
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.
At an early age, we knew the comfort of being tucked in to these words. Our parents would say them with us and even on nights when they would go out, any babysitter who watched us would hear our prayers. Those who were Jewish would say them with us, those who weren’t would simply listen. These were a foundation for the ways in which I live now and they link me one generation to the next. They also help my parents feel sublimely present.
http://youtu.be/Hq6hYBn_UYs Modeh Ani