November 2019

This month, we embark upon what has become known as the season of gratitude, counting down the days until Thanksgiving and a day filled with turkey, pie and football.  Gratitude has been deemed a healing agent, a stress reliever and is one of AA’s 12 steps toward sobriety and peace.  As Naomi Williams writes, “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.”

Judaism has a morning prayer, the Modeh Ani, that gives thanks for a new day, the Modim during the Amidah to give thanks during our prayer services and a whole week every year to give thanks for the bounty in our lives.  But what about the moments in between our prayers and the annual gorge-fest known as turkey-day?  Aren’t there reasons to give thanks more often?  And in more personal and private ways?

Some people bless their food three times each day, thanking G-d for the sustenance before them.  Some people say evening prayers thanking Hashem for the people in their lives.  Some say the Shehechyanu to give thanks for arriving at a special time and some thank G-d each morning for being free, for strength and for being a Jew.  Still others give thanks that their bodies work, something that too many of us take for granted—until they don’t.

Gratitude is a funny thing; we often think it’s a gift to the person to whom we are directing our thanks.  But, more frequently, it inspires and elevates us.  When one of my daughters graduated, she gave her father and me a lovely gift.  It was a frame in which she listed many of the things for which she felt grateful and which she believed helped her to reach that point in her life.  The frame itself was inscribed with the following quotation, which I learned came from a man named Robert Brault.  “Enjoy the little things, for one day you will realize they were the big things.”  I guess there are no little things and gratitude is in order for it all.

Judaism has a morning prayer, the Modeh Ani, that gives thanks for a new day, the Modim during the Amidah to give thanks during our prayer services and a whole week every year to give thanks for the bounty in our lives.  But what about the moments in between our prayers and the annual gorge-fest known as turkey-day?  Aren’t there reasons to give thanks more often?  And in more personal and private ways?

A few years ago, I noticed a poster hanging on a synagogue office wall.  It said, “Imagine you only had tomorrow the things for which you were thankful today.”  It really hit me between the eyes—and opened them to the many blessings that truly accompany me all day, every day and for which it is up to me to give thanks—endlessly.

Kol tuv,

R’Andra 

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