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Gratitude.

Gratitude.

Thursday, 22 September, 2016 - 11:19 pm

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I remember watching a YouTube video called “The Science of Happiness” (on the Soul Pancakes channel) and was awed by the idea that saying thank you to someone makes you happy. The video was quite powerful.

This week's Torah portion begins with the mitzvah of "Bikurim"- bringing first fruit to the Beit Hamikdash (the Temple) in Jerusalem as a show of appreciation to G-d. The Jewish people had gone through a long winter, when food was a questionable proposition. Would it rain enough for new food to grow? Would the food in the storehouses last all winter? As soon as they saw the new fruit, they lovingly tied a string or bow to the tree’s branch to dedicate it as a gift and thanksgiving.

Since they have started the Happiness Index, Israel has been consistently rated among the top 15 happiest countries. In 2015, Israel was number 11. The top ten countries have the combined stress level of a cat being stroked!  How do Israelis remain so happy?

I think that this week's Torah portion gives us the answer. The Torah strongly encourages gratitude in so many ways. Honoring one’s parents, saying blessings over food, praying, celebrating holidays, etc. But one way is very special to me, and that is the Modeh Ani prayer said every morning. Twelve words that express appreciation for life and are dedicated to realizing that every day is a gift.

The Modeh Ani correlates to Bikurim in another way. The Bikurim are the first fruit, and the Modeh Ani is said in the first precious moments of our day -our gift from G-d- thereby training ourselves to feel appreciation and happiness just to be alive!

The point of all this, is to just say THANK YOU!


 

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