Gratitude

November 15, 2018

RabbiWQAidzerheadshot-206x259Rabbi Chaim Stern teaches a Chasidic story to illustrate the importance of gratitude:

The Radziminer Rebbe once said:
We cross an ocean and are rescued from a shipwreck, so we give thanks to God.
Should we not also thank God if we cross without a mishap?
I am cured of a dangerous illness and recite a thanksgiving blessing.
Should I not also give thanks when I am well?

Gratitude is not only for the “big” moments in life, the weddings, the job promotions, the extraordinary acts of courage or generosity. Gratitude is also for the quiet moments, the small acts of kindness, the wonders of the everyday. The traditional morning prayer, Modeh Ani, gives thanks to God just for waking up. Surely there are 100 things every day for which we could be grateful, if only we would stop to think about them. Too often we fail to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” and take for granted what we should instead appreciate.

Make this a challenge as we approach the American civic celebration of gratitude, Thanksgiving: can you find 5 things to be grateful for every day? (If you’re ambitious, make it 10. Or 20.) Small or large, things that happen or things that don’t, the everyday miracles we otherwise miss – try to find them each day and feel grateful. Then Thanksgiving isn’t just a once-a-year holiday of food and family. It becomes an approach to a grateful life.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the annual Northern Valley Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving will be this Sunday night, November 18, at 7:00pm, hosted by our friends at United Methodist Church at Demarest, 109 Hardenburgh Avenue. Please join in this annual tradition of community, music, prayer, and gratitude!