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Attitude of gratitude

11/25/2019 11:58:13 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Jewish tradition teaches us that even the poorest person in the town was expected to give tzedakah, because there is likely someone ever poorer nearby. It is easy to let the difficult things in life overwhelm the good.  Whether it be illness, financial stress, employment or lack of employment issues, family struggles, or lack of food, the challenges that we face can obscure the good that is in our lives. When we let that happen, it can be nearly impossible to even recognize that there is good.  An illness can obscure good news. So too can the other potential problems that I mentioned. Then comes Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful American invention. It forces us to recognize that no matter what our personal situation, there is still good in our lives that we must note. While that good will differ from person to person, with no two people the same, there still is good, and we sometimes forget it.  When we forget about it, we live our lives a bit less grateful for the blessings that we do have. We need to develop an attitude of gratitude.

You wake up in the morning, you need to be grateful. You have others in your life – family, friends and pets – who care about you, you need to be grateful. If you have food, clothing, shelter, you need to be grateful.

From a Jewish perspective, gratitude is not merely the words of saying thank you, but a tangible act. If you will be having a Thanksgiving meal with all of the trimmings, perhaps you might be able to collectively donate a few dollars per person at your meal to a local food pantry. There are a wide range of services in the city that could use our time as well. Perhaps you might be able to volunteer some time.

There are some who might not feel gratitude this Thanksgiving, but a selfless act on our part might restore that person’s gratitude and faith in humanity. While Judaism teaches us to take care of the less fortunate in our community, Thanksgiving teaches us of our civic duty to do so. Lest we forget, the need is there every single day of the year. So too must our gratitude be present every day. I have much to be grateful for, and I’m sure that you do as well. Developing an attitude of gratitude every day goes a long way to making our community a better place.

Mon, March 30 2020 5 Nisan 5780