Last night I went to a shiur with my friend Laura on Moshav Mevo Modiin--Rav Shlomo Carlbach's z"tl moshav. The shiur was given by Rabbi Lazer Brody, and anyone who has read his Trail to Tranquility, or his translation of , Garden of Emunah or visited his Lazer Beams Website knows what a special Rav this man is. Hearing him speak was amazing. He spoke on the inner meaning of Chanuka, and his basic premise was that Chanuka is a chag in which we show our gratitude to Hashem. He noted that the most basic tenet of Judaism is to be thankful to Hashem for everything that we have. This is why we are called "יהודים" (Yehudim)--from the לשון of להודות (root word of thanks).
Rabbi Brody said that if you are constantly thankful for what you have, Hashem will give you a reason to be thankful. He urged us to lead our lives B'simcha.
He meant all the time!
This is something that is so difficult to do. We all have so much to be thankful for, but usually we focus on the negatives in our lives, the things that are hard. And those things are always there. But we have to try to stop focusing on those things and to praise G-d for what we have....when we wake up the first thought in our mind, the first words on our lips are supposed to be Modeh Ani....
I think it was pure coincidence that Rav Brody spoke on this topic on this very special week in America (although he would say there are no coincidences, everything is pre-ordained by G-d). I will miss Thanksgiving, not because of the food (ahh, but how I love stuffing!), but because of the rituals and smells and flavors (and the day off!!!) that came with it. But in honor of that great American tradition, and of Rav Brody, I'll tell you what I am thankful for, and try to remember them with all the essense of my being....
I am thankful to G-d for my three beautiful girls, and that today, (BAH) they are healthy. Never will I take good health for granted. It is a blessing from G-d that we plead for above everything else.
I am thankful to G-d for the good health of Isaac, and myself, and our parents and families. May Hashem continue to grant this blessing forever.
I am thankful to G-d for the time I have with Isaac. Never have we spent this much extended time together, and I gotta tell you, even as we await that job, its been fun!
I am thankful to G-d that Isaac and I can provide our children with what they need, and even a little bit of what they want.
I am thankful that I live in an age of technology where I can stay in touch with all the people I love so much that still live in America.
I am thankful to G-d that I learned about what freedom means because I was raised in the United States of America. May G-d grant her leaders the wisdom to continue to make the correct choices, especially over the upcoming weeks.
I am thankful to G-d for the adjustment that my children are having here in Israel. Sometimes its up, sometimes not so much, but they are growing and learning from this experience, and I'm watching their love of the land grow before my eyes.
I am thankful to G-d for conquering the fear I have always had to take this step and come to His Holy Land.
And I am thankful to G-d for being here in His Holy Land, for learning the language of the Torah, for breathing daily the air of Kedushah, and for finding beauty at every turn.
Now you go think about everything you have to be thankful for!