Reflections on the DIVINE Dialogue
Rav Miller z”l was wont to say that one of the main objectives of Tefillah is that we understand that Hashem is controlling the world. There are no default positions in this world. We don’t walk, talk, hear, see, etc. by default. It only happens because in each individual case Hashem wills it to be so.
And sanity is no exception. We don’t come into this world sane right out of the box. From the brocho Attah Chonain you learn that Hashem gives you daas. He makes you sane, and in recognition of this fact Rav Miller z”l held that we should have kavanah on the first four words of Attah Chonein to thank Hashem for making us sane.
Everything that we should be cognizant of in the world falls into this same pattern.
You woke up this morning?
If you hit the ground running as a Jew you said Modeh Ani, which puts the fact that you woke up this morning in its proper context. Modeh Ani is more than a vehicle enabling us to express our gratitude to Hashem for His decision to give us another day or part thereof.
It’s the template for everything that we take for granted, which for most of us is literally everything.
And if Modeh Ani wasn’t in the Shulchan Aruch, waking up in the morning would be the first thing we would take for granted every day.
Using Modeh Ani as our guide, it was left to us to give thanks in our own words, thoughts, and actions for the incessant miracles that are the operational DNA of our daily existence. These Divine Footprints are unfortunately subsumed to the point of invisibility in the daily routines of those who have their spiritual radar turned off.
But there is more.
Our Modeh Ani inspired, freelanced thankfulness flows full circle back into the words of Chazal when we say Modim in Shemoneh Esrei. Given the heightened awareness of Hashem’s Hands On relationship with us that our Modeh Ani mindset has hopefully engendered, we should be keenly aware of the tender mercies with which Hashem continually caresses us throughout the ebb and flow of the marathon we call “life in this world”. With this awareness in hand, we should have plenty to bring to the table in the course of saying Modim.
You tied your laces tight, the way you like it, on the first try? Could there be any better grist for the Modim mill?
Yes, there are no default positions in this world. We don’t walk, talk, hear, see, etc. by default. And if we have merited tying our shoes, it only happens because Hashem wills it to be so.