You know that feeling you had when you first heard Backstreet Boys I Want it That Way? That magical moment when you first listened to 2pac and Dr. Dre’s California Love? As a helpless romantic, I believe in love at first listen. And that’s exactly how I felt when I first heard Thank You Hashem by Joey Newcomb and Moshe Storch a few months ago.
As Jews, we are obsessed with gratitude. Heck, the Hebrew word for “Jews” is Yehudim, which means “Thankers.” Upon completing a snack or a meal the Torah mandates us by law to say thank you. Upon opening our eyes, while still in our jammies, cozily tucked into our warm blankies, the first thing that is meant to come out of our dried up parched lips every morning is, translated loosely, “Thank you for returning my soul to me!”
Not everyone is blessed with the gift of life every morning. But when we open our eyes, we realize the Almighty has given us another day to fulfill our Divine mission in this world.
When we think about it, this thought should fire us up. We ought to to jump out of bed every morning, chest bump the mirror and start dancing like Von Miler after recording a sack. But unfortunately, too often, we wack the alarm, hoping it will turn off, annoyed at the arrival of another day. We long to go back to sleep like a lost baby grey pigeon longs to return to its mommy pigeon in its cozy nest.
After teaching about this prayer a few months ago, I was once again fired up. And a few mornings, I really did chest bump my mirror in excitement about another day. But alas, the inspiration waned like my receding hairline, and I lost the inspiration.
And then the world of Corona came. Purim came, with dozens of people to our parties. We retreated to the confines of our home. Every night for the first two weeks after Purim, after being exposed to so many people, I went to sleep wondering if I would wake up in good health, or feeling terribly sick. Would I be awoken in the middle of the night shivering? Would I wake up unable smell or taste, or with a nasty fever? And every morning, when I woke up with none of those symptoms, my “THANK YOU HASHEM!” took on a whole new meaning. Every day of this pandemic, I appreciate my health in a way that I never was able to fathom before. I have been saying the Modeh Ani prayer every day for the last 20 years(ish) and never has it felt so powerful as these last few months.
Everyone has something to be thankful for. Even the millions of people who have been afflicted can be thankful every morning when they are gifted another day of life. Whatever one’s life circumstances are, now, more than ever, is the time to be thankful for everything that we do have. After sharing this incredible new blogg with 7 friends, write down 7 things that you are grateful for, and reflect for a few moments as soon as you wake up tomorrow.
To learn more about how to say this yourself check out this link.
And for some gnarly Modeh Ani videos:
And my FAVORITE!