"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Modeh Ani: Inviolate and ineffable

Modeh Ani: Inviolate and ineffable

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver

As mentioned in a previous article, in Modeh Ani, the Neshamah’s essence—“ani”—becomes manifest. This is the soul-level of Yechidah, the Pinteleh Yid, the essential Jewishness within every Jew (for more on the Yechidah, see here). This level of the Neshamah is so pure and transcendent that it cannot ever become blemished or defiled, G–d forbid.

This also explains why Modeh Ani is said before we wash our hands with neggel vasser, when they are still ritually impure, for as the Previous Rebbe stated, “All the impurities in the world cannot contaminate the Modeh Ani of a Jew. He may be lacking in one area or another, but his Modeh Ani remains whole.”[1]

In the recital of Modeh Ani, the Yechidah is manifest, elevating the Jew above all the world’s temptations, sorrows, and impurities.

This[2] is the reason that no divine names are mentioned in Modeh Ani. It is not because Modeh Ani is less than other prayers, as one might have thought. On the contrary, in Modeh Ani we acknowledge and connect with Hashem’s very Essence, which is so sublime that it utterly transcends all limitations and cannot be “grasped” and revealed to us through any name.[3]

[1] Sefer HaSichos 5703, p. 7. Hayom Yom, 11 Shevat.
[2] See Kuntres Inyanah Shel Toras HaChassidus, sec. 11, fn. 78.
[3] Likkutei Torah, Pinchas 80b. Cf. Zohar 3:257b.

Dedicated by Shmuel and Sara Rochel Markel in honor of the birth of their daughter, Yehudis bas Shmuel Leib. Yegadluha leTorah, lechuppah, ulemaasim tovim mitoch harchavah!

Dedicated in the merit of a speedy release for the captives Yonasan ben Malka (Jonathan Pollard), Alan Gross (Aba Chonah ben Chava Chana), Sholom Mordechai Halevi ben Rivka (Sholom Rubashkin), and Zeva Rochel bas Chaya (Wendy Weiner Runge).


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  1. Inviolate and ineffable - what a wonderful description of a beautiful prayer that deserves these distinctions.


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