“When I was a small child,” related the Previous Rebbe, “just after I began to speak, my father, the Rebbe Rashab, told me: ‘Whatever you wish to ask, you may ask of me.’

“To guide my education, my father appointed scholarly teachers for me. One of the first things they taught me was to recite the Modeh Ani prayer upon awakening by putting one hand opposite the other and bending my head during its recitation.

“As an older child, I remembered my father’s invitation to ask him any question, and I asked: ‘Why must we put one hand opposite the other and bend the head when reciting Modeh Ani?’ He responded, ‘In truth, we must do without asking why; however I did tell you to ask me your questions....’

“[My father] then asked to summon his eighty-year-old servant Reb Yosef Mordechai and asked him, ‘How do you recite Modeh Ani in the morning?’ He replied, ‘I put one hand opposite the other and bend my head.’ The Rebbe asked further, ‘Why do you do that?’ and the servant responded, ‘I don’t know. When I was a small child I was taught so.’

“‘You see,’ said my father, the Rebbe, ‘he does it because his father taught him to do so, and so it traces back to Moshe and Avraham our Patriarch. And Avraham was the first Jew. One must do without asking why.’

“I then told my father, ‘But I am still small.’

“My father answered, ‘All Jews are small. And when we grow older, we then begin to see that we are small.’”

Sefer HaMaamarim 5710, p. 244