After morning prayers and pages and a cuppa, I took the pup on a slow walk contemplating my New Year Intentions of daily practices of prayer and exercise. Praying is easy when you need something from God, but it takes a bit more work when all is good. That is the time to send prayers of thanksgiving. I like to think of it as “putting prayers in the bank.”
Today I decided to focus on my five senses and give thanks as they woke up to a new day:
- Sight: I am grateful for waking to the sight of sunlight streaming through the hatch, polished wood all around me and the face of a little brown dog wanting attention.
- Taste: I am grateful for my morning cup of tea, always with cream and sugar, reminding me of my beloved Nana as I savor every sip.
- Touch: I am grateful for the cushion underneath my tush and the soft fur of my pup next to me while I begin to write.
- Smell: I am grateful for the fresh air gently blowing across the water when I open our companionway doors to the new day. I inhale deeply, with eyes closed.
- Hearing: I am grateful for the peaceful sounds of sea birds and water lapping against the hull and even for the yap of the pup needing to defend me from those scary birds.
All of these senses come crashing together when I sail: the boat surging through the water, wind and sun and sea spray, birds calling high overhead and the feeling that I am truly alive and blessed. And when I am IN the water, that is when I am most at home. Oh, how I wish I were a Mermaid!
But I digress …
After taking a moment to appreciate and say a prayer for each sense, I did a search for Jewish prayers for the senses and found the following on RabbiDebra.com that I enjoyed:
Modim Anachnu Lach – We Are Grateful To You
(A translation and commentaries on this blessing
of gratitude found in the Amidah prayer)
Translation of the Traditional Prayer (by Rabbi Debra Orenstein):
We thank you, for you are our God and the God of our ancestors, forever. Rock of our lives, Shield of our salvation, you are the One, from generation to generation. We thank you and tell of your praises, regarding our lives, which are in your hands; regarding our souls, which are entrusted to you; regarding your miracles which are with us every day; and regarding your wonders and favors, which are with us every moment, evening, morning, and noon. You are good, for your compassion is never-ending. You are compassionate, for your kindnesses never cease. Our hope has always been in you.
For all these things, we bless and exalt your name, our Sovereign, constantly and forever. All living things will acknowledge and thank you, and they will praise your name in truth, God, who saves and helps us. Selah. Blessed are you, Adonai. Your essence is goodness, and it is a pleasure to give thanks to You.
Commentary: Rabbi Moshe Goldberger
The Hebrew word “modim” has a gematria of 100. This is an indication of our obligation to give thanks at least one hundred times every day (Kol Bo,siman 122). “We thank You” for everything because it is all from You. “One who says Modim properly is considered to have fulfilled all 100 brachos!” (Daas Zekeinim Ba’alei HaTosfos Devarim 10:12).
Every day when you mouth the word “modim” in your davening, visually imagine one specific item for which you are thanking Hashem now!
For our lives: including everything that keeps us alive – our brain, heart, lungs, stomach, two kidneys, the liver, two hands, two feet, nose two eyes, two ears, mouth, and other organs and body parts which facilitate human life.
For our souls: the Divine spiritual entity and source of unlimited potential greatness that lies within each of us…. If you were greatly in debt to someone and then you gave him something of value for safekeeping, he would keep it as collateral. But each and every morning Hashem keeps returning our neshama to us.
We [have] always put our hope in you: Now is the time to pause to reflect about these words of prayer to Hashem, in order to be sincere while stating that: “We always put our hope in you.” (Ask yourself: What do I hope for and request from Hashem daily…?)
– Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, 100 Brachos: Counting Your Blessings 100 Times a Day.
Modim Anachnu Lach… Me’olam kivinu Lach.
We thank You… We put our hope in You always. (Amida)