Michael Laitman
Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute

What is ‘Modeh Ani’ in Hebrew?

Modeh Ani is a short prayer, which is recited daily upon waking up in the morning. In this prayer, one thanks the Creator just as he opens his eyes by saying, “I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great!” A person thanks the Creator, who fills and controls the whole world, for restoring his soul and letting him wake up to get to know Him. This prayer marks the beginning of a new day.

What is the meaning of the Modeh Ani prayer? Here it is, piece by piece.

Modeh ani lefanecha”—I thank You. For what does one thank the Creator? “Melech chai ve kayam”—eternal living King, meaning that He fills the whole world, He controls the whole world, and no one else. “Living” means that He exists in everything that exists. Without His presence in something, it would not exist. “Melech chai ve kayam, she he chezarta bi nishmati”—”for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great!”

The Creator takes one’s soul in the evening and returns it in the morning, upon one waking up. A person enters a dream, where he no longer controls himself, and therefore his obvious connection with the Creator is cut off. Only the Creator is the master over him during sleep, at night. And in the morning a person gets his soul back and thanks the Creator for it. “For You have mercifully restored my soul within me,” means that the Creator has decided to return the soul to the body. Meanwhile, others might not wake up at all.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, “God,” or “the Creator,” is the quality of complete, unconditional love and bestowal. It is a spiritual force devoid of any corporeal depiction, a force that guides and sustains reality, also called the “upper force,” and its purpose is one: to do good. To that end, the Creator created us, who are destined to reach ultimate goodness by acquiring the godly, eternal quality of absolute love and bestowal.

Prayer is an appeal to the upper force to correct one’s egoism, the desire to enjoy for self-benefit alone. The transformation from our inborn egoistic perception and sensation to a new altruistic one is performed via an act called “prayer.”

This prayer, however, has nothing to do with day and night. In Kabbalah, a day is when we are enlightened, i.e., that we can see and feel, holding a connection with the Creator. Night is when a state descends like twilight on the soul and the heart. And when the dawn comes next, and we have some connection to the Creator, we say this prayer.

We do not have to recite the exact words of this prayer. It is more important to feel them in the heart. We can tell the Creator from the heart how good it is to be connected to Him, and this is a day for me; and how bad and sad it is for me to be alone without the Creator, and that is like night. I am thankful to the Creator for waking me up and giving me the conditions to approach Him.

About the Author
Michael Laitman is a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute. Author of over 40 books on spiritual, social and global transformation. His new book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, is available on Amazon:
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