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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
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Bereishis: Appreciating The Good


The-Shmuz

We humans are a curious breed. We can have treasures for years, not once thinking of the wealth we have been given. Not taking a moment to be thankful for them – until something happens and we lose that gift. Then it is “Hashem, why me? Of all the occupants of the planet why did you pick me?” Until then there wasn’t a moment of reflection. Not one “Thank you.” No recognition that it was a gift. Now that it is gone, the complaints begin.

The reason we don’t appreciate the good is because we fail to recognize it. It isn’t a problem with appreciation; it’s a problem of recognition. By nature we are very appreciative: “If I had any gift, if anyone were to ever do anything for me, I would be the most appreciative person in the world. The problem is that I have nothing. No one ever does anything for me.”

This seems to be the answer to Adom. On some level he did not recognize the great good that Hashem had given him in his helpmate. Had he fully recognized the good, he would have felt an overwhelming sense of appreciation, which would have prevented him from saying the words, “That woman that you gave to help me….” Those words came out because to some extent he failed to recognize how good she was for him, and therefore he was able to blame her. Had he been fully cognizant of the good, the natural sense of appreciation would have prevented him from making such a statement.

Improving Our Lives

This concept has great ramifications in our lives. Our service to Hashem should be powered by a tremendous sense of appreciation for the good bestowed upon us. Many of our interpersonal relationships are dramatically weakened because we fail to remember the great good that has been bestowed upon us – by our parents, by our spouses. Ultimately, our lives become so much richer and more enjoyable when we train ourselves to focus on and recognize the good. Our natural sense of appreciation and a desire to pay back the good then wells up within our hearts.

The solution is to take stock, to compare ourselves to others less fortunate, and to recognize the blessings and the good given to us. Once we do that, our natural sense of appreciation flows from our hearts and changes the way we think and act.

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