27 Nov Chanukah-Blessing 18: Modim: Connecting 1
When we speak about miracles, there is an aspect of the miracle that is miraculous, and there is another aspect, which is not. For instance, imagine that you are Elijah the Prophet
and are hiding out in a cave. You are famished. Birds come to bring you food- that is miraculous! But the pleasure that you are experiencing when you are eating the food is not miraculous. It is a natural human pleasure. It is part of how we naturally enjoy the world. In “Modim”, we address both aspects of miracles.
We address both aspects of the miracle in the phrase: “Nodeh l’cha u’nisaper tehilatecha”- “We thank you and tell Your praises”. We focus on the actual miracle with “tell Your praises” but we first express our gratitude for the enjoyment of the natural aspect in “we thank You”.
The reason we place the “nodeh l’cha” first, our gratitude for the natural before the miraculous, is because while miracles are awesome and are to be remembered, they are one-time experiences- miracles are not something that we can use to be grateful as much as our ability to derive pleasure on a more human level. It is hard to make the miracle itself a part of our relationship, part of our connection with God. But when we are able to use that experience on a more basic and practical level, something we do all the time, then it becomes more of an expression of “nodeh l’cha”, more of an act of connection.