Modeh Ani - does God have faith in us?

Modeh ani is the first prayer said upon awakening. It is more than it seems.

Rabbi Jesse Horn,

Rabbi Jesse Horn
Rabbi Jesse Horn

Perhaps the strangest phrase in the daily morning prayer of Modeh Ani is Rabbah Emunatecha, "lots of Your faith" for classically, we associate faith with man.  What would His faith mean?  We have faith in God, not vice versa.  It would be strange to praise Him because He has faith in us.  Equally strange would it be to describe His faith in Himself.  However the words Rabbah Emunatecha, lots of your faith imply that Hashem is the one here exhibiting faith?  In whom does Hashem have faith? 

Rav Kook (Olat Re’eya FIX) offers a brilliant insight which perfectly explains the words in this otherwise challenging phrase.  By granting man life to begin an entirely new day with the ability to accomplish great things, Hashem displays His deep belief in man.  Man does not wake up accidentally each morning, rather, he awakes because Hashem places His faith in man.  Waking up is a proof that Hashem has something remarkable for man to accomplish.  The guarantee that each day can and should be used productively is that Hashem gave it to you.  Accordingly, each day, one should wake up inspired to achieve greatness. 

Perhaps this can shed light upon another difficult part of the Modeh Ani prayer.  We state SheHechezarta Bi Nishmati, He has returned my soul to me, suggesting that we were without our soul, or at least missing some element of it, as we slept.  

Presumably the level of consciousness that is missing during sleep, is (at least part of) one’s Nishema, soul.  What should inspire us, each morning, with the drive to accomplish and achieve, is receiving that lost consciousness.  This returned consciousness is a perquisite to empowering man with the ability to determine his future.

Lastly, based upon this, one can understand the opening phrase Modeh Ani I am grateful for.  The profound gratitude is rooted in this awareness.  The upshot is that the prayer of Modeh Ani captures our appreciation for regaining our consciousness and simultaneously recognizes the challenge we are given us to achieve greatness.  

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