Liberal Arts Blog — Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People XVII- “Modeh Ani”
Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is Joy of Music Day
Today’s Topic — Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People XVII- “Modeh Ani” — Hebrew Waking Up Song
We live day to day. The most important thing on any day is getting out of bed on the right foot. The right foot is the foot of gratitude. If you are not grateful, you are unlikely to be nice. And being nice beats the alternative. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to say a prayer of thanks before you get out of bed? That is the idea behind the “Modeh Ani” — a prayer of thanks to be said before you get out of bed. This is the seventeenth in a series of songs with which (before Coronavirus) I greeted tourists from around the world at North Bridge in Concord. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
1. “Modeh ani lefanekha”
2. “Melekh chai vekayam”
3. “Shehechezarta bi nishmahti b’chemlah”
4. “Raba emunatkekha”
1. I give thanks before you.
2. King, living and eternal
3. For you have returned within me my soul with compassion
4. Great is your faithfulness
COMMENTARY — an antidote to the “negativity bias” from out stone-age ancestors
1. It’s so easy to be negative.
2. It’s so easy to worry, to whine, complain.
3. “As human beings, we have inherited a brain from our stone-age ancestors that is particularly alert to the possibilities of danger. Neuroscientists call this negativity bias. We are programmed to first notice what’s wrong.” (see second link)
APPENDIX: Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People — Past Posts in This Series
4/9/20 — Nkosi — South African National Anthem
4/16/20 — Sweet Mother — unofficial national Anthem of Nigeria
4/23/20 — Jambo — the Swahili equivalent — Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda
4/30/20 — Sakura — Japan — the cherry blossom song
5/7/20 — Arirang — Korea (North and South)
5/14/20 — Chuang Tian — China — Li Bai — Gong Linna
5/21/20 — Ode to Joy — German — Beethoven/Schiller
5/28/20 — La Marseillaise — French — France plus many more french-speaking nations
6/4/20 — Volare — Italian — Domenico Modugno
6/11/20 — Arrorro and Cielito Lindo — Spanish speakers
6/18/20 — La Garota de Ipanema — Brazil and other Portuguese speakers
6/22/20 — Gayatri Mantra — Hindus
7/2/20 — Pokarekare Ana — Maori — New Zealand
7/9/20 — Aseda Yede Ma Onyame — Ghana
7/16/20 — “Al Fatihah” — most sacred Islamic prayer (Arabic)
7/23/20 — “Tavaszi Szel” — Hungarian Folk Song
I feel strongly that the core humanities curriculum of every school in the world should consist of the most beloved songs of the world’s peoples. Music unites. The opportunity cost of any other texts is infinite. Why not give every 18 year old the keys to hearts of seven billion people? I am not sure this is the perfect list. But I have spent 10 years testing the hypothesis. And the results are not scientific but they are pretty convincing. Proposals welcome.
Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers. jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.