Life lessons from the Torah: Gratitude

The word in Hebrew” to thank ( LeHodot)” is the same word in Hebrew for the word "to Acknowledge( LeHodot)”.

Contact Editor
Moshe Kempinski,

Moshe Kempinski
Moshe Kempinski
צילום: PR

"And you shall rejoice in all the good which Hashem  your G-d  has given unto you

The Torah portion of Ki Tavo begins with a description of the people's entry into the land.

And it will be, when you come into the land which Hashem, your G-d, gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it and settle in it, that you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you will bring from your land, which Hashem, your G-d, is giving you. And you shall put [them] into a basket and go to the place which Hashem, your G-d, will choose to have His Name dwell there.  (Deuteronomy 26:1–2   )

We then read of the tithes and the charity that we are obligated to share with the poor in the land. This is followed by the  uplifting declaration;

"And you shall rejoice in all the good which Hashem  your G-d  has given unto you, and unto your house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is in the midst of you. ( Devarim 26:11)

 One wonders if this is a commandment or simply a description of what is to be.

Thereafter we hear of another dramatic and moving declaration;

Look down from Your holy dwelling, from the heavens, and bless Your people Israel, and the ground which You have given to us, as You swore to our forefathers a land flowing with milk and honey.( Deuteronomy 26:15)

All very uplifting and hopeful. Yet towards the end of the Torah portion we read of a complete turnaround.

We read the chilling words of the great Tochecha or Rebuke. The lengthy texts recounts no less than ninety-eight curses that  are declared on the people of Israel if they stray from their path. It seems to be clear, though,  that these cures are less of a punishment but rather much more a result or state of mind of straying from a relationship with their G-d.

Then G-d explains that it is not "just" disobedience that brings about that state of being but something much more basic and powerful;

All these curses will befall you, pursuing you and overtaking you to destroy you because you did not obey Hashem, your G-d, to observe His commandments and statutes which He commanded you.        And they will be as a sign and a wonder, upon you and your offspring, forever,because you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, with happiness and with gladness of heart, though you had an abundance of everything (MeRov Kol).( Deuteronomy 28:45-47)

 

The words MeRov kol are even more illuminating when they  is translated more accurately than the classical translation . MeRov Kol translates as “Most of Everything” not just an “Abundance of Everything”. That is a dramatic lesson.

Most implies "almost all" and not "All”. The focus is on “what is missing” rather than“what is there” .That is the ultimate  source of the malaise of modern day  society . More dramatically it is always the precursor to arriving into the sense “being in the state of feeling "cursed”.

The antidote to that state of being and the source of all joy is to acknowledge what we have and rejoice in the blessings that surround us. That is the inner meaning of Gratitude which is the opening theme in our Torah portion with the bringing in of the First Fruits.

The word in Hebrew” to thank ( LeHodot)” is the same word in Hebrew for the word "to Acknowledge( LeHodot)”.

To Acknowledge( LeHodot) is to be able to understand the interconnectedness between us all. It is the art of feeling connected to spouse, family community, people and to all of Hashem's creations.

To Acknowledge ( LeHodot) is to be able to understand our deep connection to our Creator and to begin to truly understand our role in that relationship.

The resultant sense of interconnectedness and unity of purpose with those that surround us and with He   watches from Above is the key to joy. It is the gateway into understanding the ultimate meaning and purpose in our existence.

"And you shall rejoice in all the good which Hashem  your G-d  has given unto you, and unto your house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is in the midst of you. ( Devarim 26:11)

 

LeRefuat Yehudit Bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Chaya Esther






top