Do the Ben Ish Chai, or other Sephardic Chakhamim speak on the recitation of "Modeh Ani" upon rising in the morning? One so-called Rabbi of the West African Jews of the Galut says that "Modeh Ani" is not obligatory or required to say, because it was not stated in the Talmud or the Rambam and other Sephardic Chakhamim.

  • Hello Nehemiah. Welcome to Mi Yodeya! From your question it sounds as though you are interested in any Sephardic sages who mention the "modeh ani" not just rabbi Yoseph Chayim. Perhaps, therefore, edit the title. Also, perhaps either delete reference to the West African rabbi, or, identify him. The question stands alone without him, or by simply saying that you heard that Sephardim don't discuss the practice. Also this is a bit nitpicky, but consider editing out "of the galut" it may offend some, and doesnt seem to change the question. – mevaqesh Aug 21 '15 at 18:12
  • Consider taking the following two-minute tour to learn more about the site. Hope to see you around. I have taken the liberty of editing your question to clarify. If I misunderstood your intent, or you want to present it differently, simply edit the question. – mevaqesh Aug 21 '15 at 18:13

The modeh ani prayer is not mentioned in the Talmud or the Rambam.

It is first mentioned (as far as I can tell) in the Seder Hayom of Rabbi Moshe ben Machir who I believe was Sephardic himself.

It is present in the siddur of Rabbi Eliyahu Benamozegh (Sephardic rabbi who lived in Italy in the 19th century).

It is referenced by Rabbi Sassi Kohen (20th century Tunisia) here with some variation and addition. (note that the text appears to be in Judeo-Arabic).

It is also referenced by Rabbi Shemual Alush (also of Tunisia) here.

Although the prayer seems to have only originated in the 16th century, it was evidently adopted by different Sephardic communities in different parts of the world.

It should be noted that the recitation of this prayer is a custom; not an obligation, whether one is Sephardic, or part of any other group of Jews.

  • I think it is also mentioned in the Kaf Hachaim – mevaqesh Aug 21 '15 at 20:23
  • Also in Yalqut Yosef – Lee Nov 20 '15 at 9:43
  • R' Lopiansky also credits Seder haYom as being first, and he's not alone --<beureihatefila.org/2013/01/06/origin-of-מודה-אני>. Notice that is was also around this time when, "E-lokai, Neshamah shanasata bi" with its "Kol zeman shehaneshamah beqirbi, modeh ani..." was moved from being said immediately upon waking up -- or right after hand washing -- into the siddur. It was written without an opening "Barukh Atah H'" because it was the second of a pair of berakhos -- HaMapil upon going to sleep, E-lokai Neshamah after sleep. Modeh Ani is a placeholder to allow delaying the berakhah. – Micha Berger Jun 14 '16 at 18:18

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