web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



The Two Most Important Words


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Why do we fight it?

Our sages give us insight. In Hebrew the word modeh, thank you, also means “to admit.” In essence, saying “thank you” is an admission that we are in need, that we are vulnerable, that we cannot do it alone – and this is something we do not like to concede. We hate feeling beholden, especially if the favor extended to us is significant. Therefore the greater the kindness, the closer our relationship, the deeper is our reluctance to reveal our weakness by saying those two little words.

People who have no problem saying “thank you” to a waiter or a salesperson or a doorman have enormous difficulty saying those very same words to those who are nearest and dearest tot them – mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, teachers and rabbis and rebbetzins. To say “thank you” to them would be an admission that they grew and became wiser because of what these people did for them.

This inability to express gratitude has many ramifications and is perhaps one of the reasons why there are so many bitter people. Those who cannot acknowledge kindness always find something to grumble about, to criticize. They make miserable marriage partners, demanding children, and selfish friends. They are convinced that everything is coming to them, that they are entitled to all the goodies in life simply because they are alive. No matter how much they are indulged, they are never satisfied. They just keep taking without feeling a need to give back.

“Who is rich?” our sages ask. “He who is content with his lot.” How can you learn contentment? By mastering the art of gratitude. And how can you master the art of gratitude? Start with little things and slowly build up.

To develop a heightened sense of appreciation, you might try to keep in your mind’s eye the image of my husband sitting in a wheelchair in front of Sloan Kettering on a cold and overcast day in January thanking G-d for the wondrous sky. My husband’s appreciation of nature had nothing to do with illness. He always took great pleasure in contemplating G-d’s creations and he taught his family to do the same. I remember one of our granddaughters (five years old at the time) saying upon visiting a nature preserve, “I’m so glad Hashem gave me eyes so I can see all these beautiful things.”

Why is it that more people do not share this joy of gazing at the sky and seeing G-d’s beautiful world? One of the reasons may be that many people like to have something that is exclusively theirs; if everyone else has it, they just can’t derive pleasure from it. If you truly love people, however, if you are truly committed to them, your pleasure will intensify in the knowledge that they too are benefiting from that which you appreciate. Even as parents are happiest when they can share with their children, the committed individual will find happiness in the gifts that can be shared with others.

By taking a few moments each day to focus on G-d’s gifts by thanking Him for His many kindnesses through blessings and prayers – and by saying “thank you” to those who are nearest and dearest to us – we can acquire the attribute of gratitude. Even if at first our words are said by rote, the very fact that we say them will condition us to express appreciation, and that in itself is significant. One day we will wake up and discover that what started as mere habit has taken on real meaning and become part of our character.

About two years after my husband passed away I decided to move so that I might live closer to my children and grandchildren. You can imagine how difficult such a change was for me. There were so many friendships, so many associations. For thirty-two years my husband had been the spiritual leader of his congregation and it was not simple to pack that up and put it in a box.

In all our years of marriage my husband and I never exchanged a harsh a word. There was only one thing concerning which we had conflicts – his papers. He was a collector. Nothing was ever discarded, and his papers with voluminous notations were scattered all over the house.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “The Two Most Important Words”

  1. Orah Peer says:

    Yashar koach! great Article.

  2. Leah Urso says:

    Beautiful and inspiring. Thank you!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Peace partners for hate: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (R) and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
PA Chief Negotiator Compares Netanyahu with ISIS
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

PTI-092614-Shofar

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

So we work, but one day in seven we also rest and spend more time than usual with family and friends. In shul we reestablish our links with the community. Through the festivals we relive the history of our people, and cure ourselves of the narrow sense of living for the moment. On Rosh Hashanah […]

But then I began to think about it and I realized the corresponding Hebrew date to 9/11 was the twenty-third of Elul, and that also added up to eleven, since Elul is the sixth month of the Jewish calendar year and six plus two plus three equals eleven. I turned to the portion of the […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

This world has its purpose; it has been ideally fashioned to allow man to grow.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

But then I began to think about it and I realized the corresponding Hebrew date to 9/11 was the twenty-third of Elul, and that also added up to eleven, since Elul is the sixth month of the Jewish calendar year and six plus two plus three equals eleven. I turned to the portion of the […]

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/the-two-most-important-words/2013/04/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: