We lead blessed lives. Many of us have so many things to be proud of: our children, our job, the home we live in, and the list goes on. But it is often easy to get caught up in what we don’t have: if only I had received the promotion, if only our house were a little bigger. It is easy to miss the blessings amidst what we feel is lacking. Often we find ourselves demanding, “If only such-and-such were better in my life” or “Why can’t this be easier?” Yes, it is good to be striving, but being aware of our blessings can make our lives even more blessed.
In this week’s Torah portion, Ekev, Moses instructs the Israelites to be grateful for all the blessings in their lives, especially for each meal. We thank our hosts for meals, so why not thank God for making it all possible? Gratitude for what we have is a cornerstone of Judaism. This emotion should be valued by all people, even if they are not at all religious.
It is disconcerting for us to see when people are not grateful for the blessings in their lives. What great blessings in our lives do we overlook because something else has gone wrong? It is easy to overlook good health when one is healthy. It is easy to overlook the blessing of having family close by when they can get on our nerves. It is easy to overlook the blessing of a quiet evening in a busy week.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the value of gratitude in their lives.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
- Why is it hard to be grateful sometimes?
- What would make it easier for you to be grateful?
- How can you help each other notice the blessings in your lives?
By Rabbi Judith Greenberg
Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.