Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
Over the years I always wondered why Hashem – the Master and Creator of the Universe – was so machmir – so adamant in having us mortals sing his praises and thank him all the time. From the minute we wake up till the moment we go to sleep we have to express our awareness and gratitude for literally everything that we have. We are required to acknowledge that we woke up in the morning because of Him; we thank Him for our food, our clothing – even our ability to go to the bathroom.
I would think to myself – shouldn’t Hashem be beyond this need for validation and praise. After all the need for a ‘pat on the back,’ the desire for recognition is a very human trait – why would G-d need our admiration and our tributes, especially when literally we are dust on feet.
I believe I received an answer on Shabbas Hagadol when I went to a drasha and a friend who lives in a different part of the city went to another one. When we discussed what we heard, we realized that there was a common theme – the extreme importance of hakarut hatov – acknowledgement of a service rendered. It is precisely because getting appreciation and validation is a very human need that Hashem in His wisdom, insisted that giving thanks become second nature to us. This achieved giving Him constant hakarut Hatov for what He does for us.
Showing appreciation to another for what they do for you seems to be the key to successful relationships – both at home and at work. At the drasha, it was pointed out that something as easy as opening one’s month and saying a simple thank you to a wife for doing the laundry, or to a husband for going out to work was an essential ingredient to shalom bayis. Likewise if a co-worker took on some of your work, or an employee stayed an hour later to help finish a project – it would lead to more productive and pleasant work environment if there was recognition of the person’s efforts.
And this is where Hashem’s insistence for praise and tribute comes in. The Creator of all there is does not need accolades from us mere mortals. To think He does need us to extol Him is extremely arrogant and presumptuous. What he wants from us is to get into the “habit” of expressing gratitude and appreciation because doing so leads to a happier and successful life. In His eyes we are just infants and like young children, must be trained to behave a certain way. This is best done by constant repetition. Every time a mother and her child are about to cross the street, she will admonish him/her to look both ways. After a while it becomes the child’s habit to look in both directions. Likewise, when we constantly thank Hashem for his thousands of chesseds (kindnesses) such as a giving us life and the necessary means to sustain it – like food, water, and clothing – it becomes second nature to us to do so.
Lashon hatov – praise and positive speech is a by-product of hakarut hatov. As I see it – lashon harah malicious or hurtful, or critical speech – can be practiced on two levels. One can actively “bad-mouth” somebody, denigrating some aspect of the person, or criticizing something they did, or failed to do. This is known as gossip or mudslinging. Another aspect of lashon harah is … saying nothing. Sometimes silence is not golden. Not opening your mouth and giving a compliment, recognizing a favor – in other words taking someone for granted and making them feel worthless – can cause the same feelings of hurt and rejection as actively saying something negative or critical.
Just because a wife, for example, has prepared a thousand suppers for her husband does not mean that it is something that should be expected day every day. We humans have eaten thousands upon thousand of meals – yet Hashem expects us to say a blessing of thanks each time. Hashem is teaching us that no matter how familiar or frequent something is – like a meal provided by Him and prepared by a wife or mother, it should never be taken for granted. By the time someone is 20, they have woken up over 7000 times. But each time get up we utter the Modeh Ani prayer, thanking G-d for letting us wake up to continue our lives.
G-d does not need our appreciation. But other human being do. By having us constantly thank Him, G-d is training us to getting into habit of practicing hakarut hatov with the people with whom we share our earthly space. It is the road that leads to shalom bayis and peace in general. For that reason alone, He deserves our eternal praise.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.
This year’s parade, the 87th annual extravaganza of marching bands, floats, and giant balloons, featured something really unique and different: a balloon/float of a large blue dreidel.
He strengthened his resolve
Knew his life he would lose,
But when the king uttered the words
With great pride he refused.
Just like you
I too have a soul
A soul that is G-dly
Just like you.
Now my friend
I ask you,
Am I different from you?
It’s not Chanukah without latkes! That’s true; but don’t make the same boring latkes this year. Go for something healthier, more vibrant, and flavorful.
Each year at our family Chanukah party, we try to introduce a new activity, to keep things fun and exciting for the children and adults alike. Last year’s addition – a huge hit – was a menorah-making contest.
Prof. Malka Schaps was born Mary Kramer, a Protestant, in Cleveland, Ohio. When she was sixteen, she started questioning the rationale of moral conduct: Why be good?
But even though their medical situations were similar, how they mentally dealt with their new status quo was often as different as night and day.
How confusing it was growing up with conflicting messages. On the one hand, we were told, even admonished, to eat everything on our generously piled up plates (it was a sin to waste food), yet we were made to feel like we were a lower form of human being if we were overweight.
While in New York recently, I was invited to see a performance of “Waiting for Godot” – a multi-layered play on the human condition that I was introduced to in high school. What was fascinating and unique about this particular production was that this renowned play was being performed in Yiddish – with English and Russian subtitles beamed onto a screen for non-Yiddish speakers. (Staged by the New Yiddish Rep, at the Castillo Theatre, and directed by Moshe Yassur, it stars Shane Baker, David Mandelbaum, Rafael Goldwaser, Avi Hoffman and Nicholas Jenkins.)
Now and then my Bubby would open up about what she went through in the camps, of what she witnessed… From time to time she would talk about her baby sisters – twins – and how she would sew them identical dresses and braid their hair the same way challenging everyone to guess who was who.
Our community has a very different mindset – we live to have children. Each child is considered a bracha – a priceless commodity to cherish and nurture.
I read an article recently that described the fascinating phenomenon of mainstream, well-educated, responsible men and women deciding not to have children. According to the article, these people have given the matter a great deal of thought and have come to the conclusion that parenting is not for them.
Now and then you read or hear of a tragedy – typically a car accident – where those involved are suffering from life-threatening injuries or unfortunately have lost their lives. Frequently, in the initial reports, the victims remain nameless “pending notification of next of kin.”
A friend of mine, a young mother, related that her oldest child, now three, was starting pre-school in a few weeks. Her voice, full of pride, quickly took on a tone of annoyance as she described the “welcome package” she had received as a new parent. Amid the rules and regulations concerning drop off and pick up was a dress code for mothers/female caregivers who brought and took home the children. One of the “requirements” was wearing closed–toed shoes. Sandals were not allowed.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/modeh-ani-a-thank-you/2005/04/20/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: