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We gratefully acknowledge that You are Adonai, our God and the God of our ancestors for all eternity. You are the Rock of our lives and the Shield of our salvation from generation to generation. We shall thank You and declare Your praise—for our lives which are in Your hand, for our souls which are in Your care, for Your miracles that are with us every day and for Your wondrous deeds and favors at all times: evening, morning and noon. O Good One, whose mercies never fail, O Compassionate One, whose kindnesses never cease: forever do we put our hope in You.

For all these things, O King, may Your Name be forever blessed and exalted. O God our Redeemer and our Helper, may all who live gratefully acknowledge You and praise Your Name in Truth.

Blessed are You, Adonai, Whose Name is Goodness, and to Whom it is fitting to give thanks.

The next-to-last prayer in the tefila is called hoda-a. It is an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty and an expression of our gratitude to the Eternal One. The Hebrew root y d h י ד ה carries the dual meaning of “acknowledgement” and “thanks.”

If it were only a prayer of thanks, in anticipation of God’s favorable response to our petitions, it would be inappropriate to recite it on Shabbat and festivals, when petitionary prayers are absent from the tefila.

But hoda-a also means acknowledgement; hence the above translation “We gratefully acknowledge…” This prayer comes to remind us of God’s continuing miracles, which we must never take for granted. Instead, we need to renew our sense of awe and wonder every day of our lives.

Our rabbinic teachers took note of the distinction between keva קבע
and kavana כוונה. Although they are clearly not related etymologically, these two words sound alike, so the rabbis were able to use them as a rhetorical device:
• Keva comes from the root that means “appointed, set, fixed,” and therefore refers to the established liturgy: all the prayers in the sidur.
• Kavana, on the other hand, comes from the root that means “direction,” and refers to the intention that we bring to our prayers, the ways in which we direct our hearts to God as we pray.
The person who says, “I have done my duty by reciting all the prayers in the sidur,” albeit mechanically and hurriedly, suffers from an excess of keva and an absence of kavana.

But the person who asks, “Why come to the synagogue at all? I can voice my own prayers to God in the field or at the seashore,” usually does not take time to pray at all. He hasn’t made an appointment with God or with the congregation, and suffers from an excess of kavana (“good intentions”) but an absence of keva.

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