Modeh Ani 2

Saying Modeh Ani:

In what position is it to be recited? One should say it while still sitting or lying on his bed.[1] [One who sits up on his bed is to do so without placing his feet on the ground.[2] One is to place one hand against the other, and lower his head upon reciting Modeh Ani.[3]



Immediately upon awakening, prior to washing ones hands, one should place one hand against the other, lower his head, and say Modeh Ani. One should say it while still sitting or lying on his bed, and not while standing. One who sits up on his bed is to do so without placing his feet on the ground.



In what position are the hands to be held while reciting Modeh Ani?[4]

There are different customs followed amongst Chassidim with regards to the positioning of the hands while saying Modeh Ani. Some[5] are accustomed to place the hands over each other [right over left] in an overlapping position, near the heart, as some people do during Shemoneh Esrei[6]. [Exhibit A] Others[7] lock the hands together in an embrace. [Exhibit B] The most common custom is to place the fingers and palm of the hands next to each other and hold them forward, away from the body.[8] It is told that the Rebbe Rayatz demonstrated the positioning of the hands upon revealing this custom and his hands were positioned like the third custom mentioned.[9] [Exhibit C]


Where is the Nekuda [stop] to be made within the sentence of Modeh Ani?[10]

One is to make a slight stop between the words Bichemla and Raba Emunasecha.


How are women to pronounce the word; Modeh or Modah?[11]

There are those[12] which say that women should say “Modah” rather than Modeh. Practically one should follow the custom of their community.[13]


Exhibit A



Exhibit B


Exhibit C[14]



[1] Basra 1/6

The reason for why one should not stand is because Modeh Ani is to be said immediately upon awakening and one should not suddenly stand up on his feet immediately upon awakening. [Basra and Kama 1/6] The reason for this is because one who does so is closer to death than life. [Kama ibid]

[2] It is our custom not to place our feet on the ground until after washing hands, as will be explained in Chapter 4 Halacha 3 Q&A

[3] Sefer Haminhagim p. 3 [English Edition] based on Sichas Chag Hashevuos 2nd day 1949 chapter 13 printed in Sefer Hamamarim 5750 p. 244; See Hiskashrus 623 p. 16


The Rebbe Rayatz stated the following during a gathering on the 2nd day of Shavuos 1949: When they educated me to say Modeh Ani they told me to place one hand over the other and to nod my head downwards while saying it. When I was a bit older, although still a child, I asked my father for the reason behind this custom. He answered me: In truth you must fulfill without asking why although since I told you to ask me all your questions [I will thereby give you an explanation]. My father then called into his study the beadle Yosef Mordechai which was 80 years old at the time. He asked him how he says Modeh Ani and he answered that he proximate his two hands together and lowers his head. He then asked him why he does so and he answered “I don’t know but that is how I was taught to do it since I was a child. My father than replied: You see he does it because his father taught him to do it that way and so on and so forth all the way back to Moshe Rabbeinu and Avraham Avinu which was the first Jew. A Jew must comply by his tradition without asking why he must do so. [ibid]

Rabbi Leibel Groner stated that when he compiled Sefer Haminhagim he was in doubt whether to enter this custom into the Sefer and the Rebbe answered him to do so as it is a directive that is pertinent to the public. [Hiskashrus 623 p. 16]

[4] See Hiskashrus 623 p. 16; 711 p. 15

[5] Rav Tzevi Hirsh Ganzburg states that this is the custom he received.

[6] See Admur 95/4

[7] Rav Yitzchak Goldberg, Rosh Hayeshiva of Migdal Eimeik states that this is the custom of his family and of Anash that he knew in France.

[8] The Rebbe was asked how this position does not reflect the grace the Christians practice prior to meals and sleep. The Rebbe answered: The Rabbeim knew of this and nevertheless placed their hands in this position. The Christians prior to sleep prostrate themselves on their knees which we do not do and it is hence not similar. [Rav Leibel Groner, printed in Hiskashrus 623 p. 17]

[9] The correctness of this latter position is also to be understood from the fact the Rebbe answered why it is not forbidden due to being similar to the Christians and it is only this latter position which follows a similarity.

[10] Shaareiy Teshuvah 1/5 based on Yad Efraim 4; Kitzur SHU”A 1/2; M”B 1/28; Kaf Hachaim 1/5; Siddur Im Dach and Siddur Tehilas Hashem both place the Nekuda after Bichemla.

[11] Likutei Sichos 24/410

[12] In Halichos Shlomo [2 footnote 17] Rav SZ”A is brought to rule that women are to say Modah and not Modeh.

[13] Seemingly this refers to the sect of Jewry that one is affiliated with and not ones living community.

[14] Rav Yosef Goldstein O.B.M. of San Diego, California, demonstrates the way he himself saw the Rebbe Rayatz during the Sicha of the 2nd night of Shavuos demonstrate to the congregation how to position the hands while saying Modeh Ani.

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