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Saying thank you

Friday, 6 February, 2015 - 2:03 pm

In the daily Amidah we recite a passage that begins with the words Modim Anachnu Lach, “We thankfully acknowledge that You are the L-rd our G‑d… We will give thanks to You and recount Your praise, evening, morning and noon, for our lives which are committed into Your hand, for our souls which are entrusted to You, for Your miracles which are with us daily, and for Your continual wonders and beneficences.”

The idea of expressing gratitude to Hashem is one of themes of prayer. We must constantly hammer into our consciousness that we owe G-d thanks for everything that we experience in life.

There are times when it is easier to remember that than others. There are the major miraculous events where we are able to overcome overwhelming difficulties. Then there are the “daily miracles and continual wonders” for which we must work harder to ingrain within ourselves that feeling of gratitude.

This week I had the privilege of observing a man expressing gratitude for a miracle that he experienced. A person I know underwent a very complex surgical procedure. The medical team had projected all kinds of difficulties and obstacles that they would likely encounter. In the end the surgery went very well and, thank G-d, it has been a wonderful road to recovery, and with His help it will continue so. Leading up to and during the surgery many people were praying for his welfare. He and his family were very grateful for those prayers.

Two days after the surgery he asked me to come to the hospital to help him lay his Tefillin. We put on the Tefillin and he recited Shema with great fervor. One could see that this was a very powerful moment. After he finished reciting the Shema he covered his eyes to emotionally express his thanks to Hashem in his own words. We finished by reciting the Psalm of Thanksgiving (Psalm 100) together. Here was a person who really felt the truth of the words in the prayer - Modim Anachnu Lach. He felt the hand of Hashem in his life and wished to convey his gratitude for that. Needless to say it was very moving for me. I hope that I can retain some of that feeling as time passes.

On a more somber note, it is with profound sadness that we convey our heartfelt condolences to Jared Sichel and the entire Sichel family for the untimely passing of Aaron Sichel. May the prayers that so many have been offering on his behalf and the Mitzvos that were undertaken in his merit serve to smooth the path of his journey into the world of truth. May the Sichel family take comfort in knowing that so many people care and support them in this difficult time. Finally, May Hashem comfort them among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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