Wednesday, June 2, 2010

the best part of waking up...

"You should wake up with gratitude to G-d for having restored your faculties, and with a lionlike resolve to serve your Creator, you should immediately declare:

I gratefully thank You, O living and eternal King, for You have returned [I say 'awakened'] my soul within me with compassion-- abundant is Your faithfulness."

~ "Upon Arising" from the
Artscroll Women's Siddur~

Thus begins the "Shacharit," or morning prayers in the Siddur. It should be the first thing one says when waking up each morning. If you're like me, perhaps you have mumbled it to yourself occassionally while dragging yourself out of bed to tend to the little one whose gleeful chatter flows from the baby monitor. I know that lions can be fairly lazy at times, but I don't think this is what is meant by "lionlike resolve!" I consider myself a "morning person" to an extent, because that is usually when I'm most productive and have the most energy. However, I cannot even begin to compare myself with my daughter, who is definitely a morning person! When she wakes up, she hardly ever cries. Rather, she jumps right back into the conversation she was having with herself the previous day... she squeals, she laughs, she bangs on the crib...

She has been a great reminder to me that the best part of waking up is not Folger's in your cup (although I do drink Folger's in the morning), but the best part of waking up is waking up! As soon as we realize that we have been given another day of life, there is more than enough reason to exclaim our gratitude! It is only with G-d's help that we are able to breathe at all. As it is stated in the "Bedtime Shema," we ask G-d "may You illuminate my eyes lest I die in sleep, for it is You who illuminates the pupil of the eye." Without His approval, there would be no waking up.

It's nice to read Psalm 5 in the morning, because in verse 3, it says: "In the morning, O L-RD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." Mornings can be difficult for families, especially with small children. Nevertheless, we should strive to express our gratitude to HaShem and let Him hear our voice, so that we can prepare ourselves to "eagerly watch" and see what He will do throughout the day ahead.


  1. This is the second article I read about the "Modeh Ani" today. Maybe that's a sign that I need to be waking up with a little (a lot) more gratitude!

    I often wondered about the "returned my soul" line. Is it a biblical idea? I like that you have substituted "awakened" for "returned". I'm much more comfortable with that. By the way, do you know the word for "awakened" in Hebrew? I don't, but I had been saying the Modeh Ani in Hebrew, and I would like to be able to say it in Hebrew using "awakened".

    Thanks for another lovely blog post. Have a blessed day!

  2. עוּר Thanks for the great questions, robyn! The idea that the soul is returned when we wake is found in the Talmud: Genesis Rabbah 14:9, but I don't see it anywhere in Scripture. It was my Rabbi who suggested that we substitute 'awakened' instead.

    I tried to look up the Hebrew word on All I can tell you is that the Hebrew word for waken is "uhr" spelled ayin-vav-resh. I will keep looking though.

  3. This is the fourth time I have seen mention of Artscroll's Women Siddur today! Isn't that crazy? I knew I had to order it after the first two mentions :)

    I love starting the day with God on my mind, and ending it with Him as well.

    Be blessed in HaShem!

  4. I love this...except that my baby monitor usually doesn't have "gleeful chatter" on it. It's usually something that can be interpreted as "Come feed me NOW Mommy!"