Reciting Modeh Ani In The Morning
(This should not be relied upon for practical halacha. When a question arises a Rabbi should be consulted.)
1. “One should strengthen himself like a lion to get up in the morning to serve his Creator.” These are the opening words of the Shulchan Aruch, the standard code of Jewish law. A Jew should not be lazy, but rather excited to start a new day in which he can serve Hashem.
2. One should not allow himself to be persuaded by his inclination which tells him that he did not get enough sleep. The Shulchan Aruch writes that, “He should contemplate how if he were to lie in the presence of a king of flesh and blood it would be considered a capital offense and even more so here that he is lying before the King of all Kings.” He should then contemplate that due to this he should therefore immediately and speedily come out of bed to serve his lofty creator.
3. Hashem takes our soul each night while we sleep and graciously returns it the next morning (see Brachos 57a). When we wake up in the morning, we must immediately recognize and thank Hashem for the gift of life. Therefore, while still in bed, we recite the prayer “modeh ani l’fanecha Melech Chai V’Kayam shehechezarta bi nishmasi bichemla rabba emunasecha” (“I gratefully thank You, O living and eternal King, for You have returned my soul within me, with compassion. Abundant is your faithfulness”). (Mishnah Berurah 1:5. see also Igros Kodesh from the Admur of Lubavitch zt”l vol. 10 page 23)
4. Since the modeh ani prayer does not contain Hashem’s name, one is permitted to recite it before washing his hands in the morning (netilas yadaim). (Mishnah Berurah, see however Yaavetz for a dissenting view. See also Maasef Lchol Machanos 1:23)
5. Harav Aryeh Tzvi Frumer zt”l (Eretz Tzvi 1:52) questions whether one may recite the prayer in the vicinity of excrement or urine. We permit one to recite modeh ani when his hands are unclean (before netilas yadaim), but perhaps we do not permit it when the area is unclean. He concludes that it is permitted to recite modeh ani in an unclean environment.
Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a also rules that it is permitted to recite modeh ani in an unclean area (Gam Ani Odecha 2:33). However, the Minchas Aharon (1:5) writes that if one is within four amos of excrement or a bedpan he should not recite modeh ani. Rather, he should think the prayer modeh ani in his mind.
6. Women also recite modeh ani. Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l (Halichos Shlomo chapter 2 note 17) feels that women should pronounce the word modeh with a kumatz under the letter “daled,” so that the word would be read as moduh (מודָה).
7. One is to make a slight stop between the words bichemla and rabba emunasecha. (Shaarei Teshuva 1:5)
8. The Sefer Haminhagim of Chabad, which discusses all the customs of Chabad Chassidim, writes that one is to place one hand against the other, and lower his head upon reciting modeh ani.
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