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Shemoneh Esrei 50

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Shemoneh Esrei 50

 

מודים אנחנו לך

We gratefully thank You

As related last week in SE 49, if we could only remember at all times that all that happens to us on a minute-by-minute basis is from our loving Father and King, we would live happier lives and have greater m’nuchas ha’nefesh.  That, in turn, would certainly have a great positive impact on those around us, from our immediate families to all those with whom we interact.

One of the most powerful reminders of this, which can be drawn upon at any moment, is remembering four words that represent four principles of life:  Chidush, Bitachon, B’chirah, and Mishkan.

חדוש – The S’fas Emes and the K’dushas Levi say, commenting on the pasuk in T’hilim that we recite daily in P’sukei D’Zimrah, that “kol ha’n’shamah” refers to every breath.  We praise Hashem with each and every new breath.  With each breath, Hashem renews us with new life.  We can have this thought in mind when we say, in Modim, “על נשמותינו הפקודות לך–al nishmoseinu ha’p’kudos lach–for our souls that are entrusted to You.”

חדוש also means being aware that each moment is a brand new one, bringing with it fresh opportunity to free ourselves from the past, regardless of what has just happened.

בטחון – We recall and contemplate that it is Hashem, our loving Father and King, Who has placed us in this precise predicament at this precise moment of our lives.

בחירה – We make the choice to accept with love whatever situation in which Hashem has placed us, and contemplate, to the best of our ability, what Hashem wants from us at this moment, and then act upon that understanding.

משכן – The Mishkan was where Hashem’s presence and love for us was felt to the greatest extent.  It was a place of peace and harmony.  Just as in the Mishkan one could only serve in a state of joy and serenity, so too we have the responsibility to be in a joyful and serene state of mind for the Sh’chinah to reside within us, as our mind is a resting place for the Sh’chinah.  We choose to serve Hashem with joy and serenity, knowing that it is our loving Father and King Who knows best what is best for us, and Who is All-powerful and All-capable.

If we can internalize the reality of these principles and draw upon them at times of challenge and difficulty, we will be able to say to Hashem three times a day: “Modim – I acknowledge that all comes from You, Hashem, my loving Father and King, and I therefore thank You for everything.”

The powerful principles above are based on “The Menuchah Principle” by Reb Shaya Ostrov, LCSW.  Rav Yisroel Reisman wrote the following in his foreward of the sefer: “The sefer in your hands is a ‘people manual,’ a guide for serious people to understand themselves.  The goal of this sefer is to help you achieve, in Rav Schwab’s words, “the highest form of peace, the peace and tranquility a man experiences with himself; this is the peace of the soul, shalom shel ha’n’shamah.”

Note: Reb Ostrov uses a three-word mnemonic for the three principles of Chidush, B’chirah, Mishkan, rather than the four-word mnemonic this writer is more comfortable with.  He includes Bitachon within the B’chirah principle.

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