In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
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:
You must log in to post a comment.
Leah Katz, a TeenZone camper at Oorah’s TheZone summer camp and an 11th grader at Midwood High School, read her winning essay about how TheZone changed her views on Judaism at the Jewish Heritage Awards Ceremony held at Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office in April. The purpose of the Jewish Heritage Essay Contest is to acquaint public school students with Jewish history and customs and to help foster a deeper understanding of Jewish culture. The contest is open to students of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Leah’s essay is reproduced in full below.
Moshe Sharett, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, visited Egypt in 1945. In Cairo he met a most remarkable young woman, a beautiful journalist who was the darling of Egyptian high society – from high-ranking military brass, to culture icons and Muslim sheikhs, to the court of King Faruk.
The two proceeded to talk about everyday things and surprisingly her mother-in-law did not find anything else to criticize. This occurred a few more times, with my client changing the topic every time by complimenting her mother-in-law or mentioning something positive about her.
There is always a lot of confusion surrounding sensory processing disorder – mainly because there are many different diagnoses that fall under the catch-all phrase sensory processing disorder (SPD). Among them are three specific subcategories:
The doctor had warned us that even if we did everything right and followed the protocol after the follicle was of the right size, there was no guarantee of success. Fertilization still had to occur, and just like couples do not necessarily become pregnant every month, we had no way to know if we were actually expecting for two full weeks.
The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Jewish Press columnist Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder and president of Hineni, the international Torah outreach organization, recently addressed an overflowing audience at the Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine in southern California. Rebbetzin Jungreis’s address theme, “Making a Good Relationship Magical,” was apropos for the evening’s main mission: raising funds for the Irvine community’s mikveh.
You have probably been planning your marriage since you were about three. Let’s fast-forward to a big milestone– your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. (Don’t worry, you don’t look a day over twenty one!) Now, would you appreciate your husband buying you a dozen roses that some florist recommended?
As I mentioned in my earlier articles about our family trip to Israel, our night flight went pretty smooth, thanks to my children’s willingness to sleep throughout the flight. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink and I wasn’t feeling too great by the time we landed. But we were finally in Israel, and just being in the beautifully renovated Ben Gurion airport and hearing all the Hebrew around us was exciting enough.
While all the flowers that grace your Shavuos table will surely be a delight to your eye, these will be a delight for your palette as well. Create them at any level, simple or sophisticated; any way you make them they’re sure to be a sensation.
Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we attempt to answer questions sent in by people who fortunately have fake names, so they won’t be embarrassed. I don’t know how they got through school, though.
Speechless wonder is the reaction to the beautiful vision seen though the Arch of the Keshet Cave at the Adamit Park in the Galilee. One of the most amazing natural wonders in Eretz Yisrael, the Me’arat Hakeshet — also known as the Rainbow Cave or Arch Cave — can be found up against the Israel-Lebanon border just a few kilometers from Rosh Hanikra and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. It is situated amid the wild scenery on the cliffs of Nachal Betzet and Nachal Namer, on the Adamit Ridge.
One of the subjects I was taught as a young child in school was Tefillah. Since we spoke only Ivrit during our Limudei Kodesh and secular Hebrew studies – literature, creative writing and Jewish history – we pretty much understood the words we were davening.
Shortly before Pesach, I received a rather agitated call from a long time reader of The Jewish Press who pleaded with me to write a column regarding what she insisted was the unwarranted high cost of Pesach food – in particular shmurah matzah – and how hard it was for young families to pay what she felt were over-inflated prices in order to keep strictly kosher.
The price of deliberate obliviousness is very high – emotionally, physically, socially, and financially.
How is it possible that a person of seemingly normal intelligence (nowhere does it say he is simple) not have the ability to ask a question – to not react and enquire as to the why of the hustle and bustle around him?
It was one of those cold, rain-soaked evenings – the kind that make you look forward to a hot drink, a good book and a soft couch to curl up on. With those happy thoughts in mind, I proceeded to cross to the other side of the street.
The other day I was shopping at a large supermarket and happened to go down the frozen foods aisle, past the endless freezers containing every imaginable flavor, shape and size of ice cream. I rarely buy. Rather I am like a tourist in a museum – gawking at wondrous objects that I know I can’t take home with me.
He stood his ground despite the intense pressure to do what everyone else was doing. His integrity was more important to him than “fitting in.”
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: