First Blessing 2: Beginnings
Reflecting On Our Goals
It is important to take time before taking the three steps back to reflect on what we hope to gain through our saying the Amidah. To simply say that I want to communicate with God usually does not work for most people. I’m sure there are exceptions. But it is difficult to just start out of nowhere a conversation with God. So our goal should be to find areas where we had experienced a connection with God, or experienced something spiritual, and use that to form the basis of our conversation with God during our prayers.
When you take the three steps up, of course you are supposed to focus a little bit on each blessing. But I suggest that you choose one blessing that is most appropriate for you on that day, and go on from there. And Modim should always be stressed, because it tends to give a person a very positive attitude towards life.
We must stand before God with a sense of subservience, which is why we bow fully at the knees at the beginning of the bracha.
What is the difference between bowing to someone with a small nod, and bowing fully forward by bending your knees? Is there a difference? If you met a Japanese dignitary, or a great king would it be enough to just to give a small nod? The difference is that one is acknowledgement and one is an expression of total submission.