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Religion

Realising how much we are truly blessed.

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RABBI YONASAN LANDAU

By RABBI YONASAN LANDAU – Ohr Somayach Savoy

Stop and ask: “Do I really lack that? Am I less able to function and is my happiness compromised without it? And how does it affect how I view what I DO have?”

In Parshat Emor we mention a special offering called the Korban Todah or the Thanksgiving Offerring. This is offered up when one survived a near dangerous situation such as recovering from a severe illness, being freed from jail, crossing the desert or completing a sea voyage.

The idea is to realise the kindness of Hashem for ensuring our safety and to appreciate everything that He gives us. In fact the Talmud in Berachos explains that we recite blessings on food and certain smells because one can only derive benefit from this world by first recognising the One Who gave it.

This is a foundation block of our people and one reason why we are called Yehudim or Jews, which means “those who thank”.

The great authority, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein z’tl, lays down for us in one of his responsa what Jewish education is: Whenever we give anything to our children, we tell them that Hashem gave it to them.

What a difference in our recognition of Hashem in our lives when not only do we thank our parents, aunts and uncles for all that they give us, but that collectively Hashem provides all. He quenches our thirst, He cheers us up, He invigorates us, He refreshes us with various aroma. He constantly showers us with love.

With this recognition says Rav Moshe z’tl, the challenges of life are put into perspective.

Rav Shimon Schwab z’tl was the rav of the German Jewish community of Washington Heights and a true Gadol in Torah. Towards the end of his life he was confined to a wheelchair, yet was seen cheerful and smiling. Someone finally challenged him regarding his positivity despite his disability.

The rav responded(paraphrased): “Imagine someone would lend you 1 million dollars and then after 70 years claim it back, would you be upset about that?

“Hashem has blessed me with over 50 children and grandchildren who follow in the ways of Torah, that I could lead this community for so many years and He blessed me with legs to walk with for over 70 years and now took them back, should I not smile?” 

Hashem should bless us with the serenity and satisfaction of realising how much we are truly blessed. Have a good Shabbos.

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