Gratitude in good times
When do we think of G-d most? At which moments in our lives are we most cognisant of the creator? And does Hashem ever seem to fall off our radar?
As a rabbi, I’ve noticed a trend among people who come to shul particularly when facing difficult times such as illness, loss, and mourning – G-d forbid.
As human beings, it’s only natural to find it easy to forget about G-d when life is smooth sailing and things are going our way. In times of plenty, when we don’t feel an immediate need for divine intervention, our prayers may become more routine, less frequent, and not as heartfelt as during moments of desperation and suffering.
In this week’s Torah portion of Eikev, we find the commandment to bless G-d after we eat. The Torah explicitly states, “And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the Lord, your G-d.”
According to Biblical law, the requirement to bless G-d is specifically after we’ve eaten and are satisfied with our meal. The sages added a rabbinic law to recite blessings before eating as well, which is clearly appropriate.
It’s human nature to turn to G-d in times of need, and rightfully so. G-d encourages us to turn to Him with our requests and during challenging periods in our lives. There’s no prayer too trivial or insignificant with which to “bother” G-d. Every plea we make of Him is at the same time a declaration of our faith that He in is control and that our life in all its detail is in His hands.
However, this particular commandment from parshat Eikev brings to light something equally, if not more, important. It emphasises the significance of expressing gratitude and praise for Hashem when life is good and we feel content and happy with the blessings bestowed upon us.
In moments of plenty, when we acknowledge G-d with gratitude, we remind ourselves that the blessings in our lives aren’t solely the result of our talent, effort, and hard work. This mindset serves as a reminder to avoid becoming arrogant or looking down on others. Instead, it fosters a sense of humility and gratitude, and a desire to share our blessings with those around us.
Let’s take this commandment to heart, and strive to express our thanks and praise to G-d in times of abundance and blessing.
May we be fortunate enough to have numerous opportunities to acknowledge and appreciate the divine gifts in our lives, and humble enough to pay them forward and share them with others.