Grateful for our Many Blessings

When someone says they are “praying” for something, it usually is taken to mean they are making some kind of request of God. And certainly that might be the case. But by no means is the verb “to pray” constrained to connote request. Most liturgical Jewish prayer (aside from much of the Sh’moneh Esrey) is directed towards another purpose. Our liturgy, for example, teems with a variety of blessings, all of which are a means of praising the Almighty. As well, a substantial proportion of our liturgy is about gratitude to HaShem. Back to the Sh’moneh Esrey (the weekday Amidah) for a moment: comprising 19 mini-prayers wrapped into one long prayer, the final sixth of the multi-layered prayer offers an extended expression of gratitude. That for which we should be grateful is all around us; we take so very much for granted. Yes, November has been a good bit colder than usual. But what about the fact we have warm coats to wear and blankets to sleep under? Be thankful. Many of us will come down with colds this Winter. But we are endowed with immune systems that with time and rest will overcome nettlesome viruses. Be thankful.

Many of us have reared children who as adults have chosen to reside outside the area. Would that America were a tiny country (like Israel), where the drive from Eilat to the Golan is only half-a-day! In Israel, everything is local. But we are fortunate to live in a vast country where natural beauty is not hard to find — and which is saturated with rapid transportation through which we can fly coast-to-coast, 5,000 miles, in just hours.

This week, loved ones will make trips of varying length, some of them 10,000 miles in terms of round-trip, to reunite with loved ones. We are grateful for our many blessings this Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving and all praise to HaShem!