26 Av 5781 / Wednesday, August 04, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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Attitude of Gratitude    

Attitude of Gratitude

Rabbi Shalom Arush teaches that by instilling an attitude of gratitude we can construct the road out of this exile and ultimately end all our suffering...


In the midst of our annual period of mourning due to the loss of the Bais HaMikdash, it’s important to reflect on the experience that initially triggered this lengthy exile. The Spies transmitted a negative view of the land of Israel and caused the Jews to cry and complain. Hashem said “You're crying for no reason, now I'll give you something to cry about!”


From this we learn that complaining extinguishes Divine compassion. On the other hand, nothing evokes Divine compassion like gratitude. Rabbi Shalom Arush teaches that by instilling an attitude of gratitude we can construct the road out of this exile and ultimately end all our suffering. Following are a few of the many benefits of gratitude and positivity drawn from his life transforming book Garden of Gratitude:


Eight Reasons to Give Thanks


1. Gratitude invokes Divine compassion. We see this clearly in our own lives. Whenever someone thanks us from the heart, we want to do more and more for that person. In contrast, someone who ignores or denies a favor we did for them destroys any desire we might have to help them ever again.


2. We learn in the Gemara that Hashem leads a person in the way he wants to go. If a person believes that everything is for the good according to the principles of emuna then the reality truly becomes good for him. When a person thanks Hashem for painful and seemingly bad circumstances, Hashem says “I see he’s thanking Me even though I’ve given him a difficult situation. Now I’ll really give him something to be thankful for!” In other words when we give thanks, we are doing something that’s not natural. Hashem responds by overriding the natural order and sends us miraculous salvations above nature.


In contrast, if one mistakenly perceives that there is bad in this world, then he is treated according to his lack of emuna and the bad not only becomes manifest, it becomes worse


3. Hashem created the universe so that man would know his Creator and thank Him as explained by the Ramban in Torah portion Bo. Therefore, a person who thanks Hashem fulfills his purpose and the purpose of the entire creation. He makes himself worthy of miracles and wonders, and he will merit great salvations.


4. The Slonimer Rebbe explains that when a person has no complaints about the way Hashem runs his life, even though circumstances aren't always so desirable, then Hashem has no complaints about that person, despite the fact that some of his actions are less than ideal. On the other hand, if a person complains about any little inconvenience in life, then Hashem complains about any little misdeed that person might do.


5. Gratitude is in essence an admission that a person could not succeed without Divine assistance. Every time a person thanks Hashem he is in essence admitting that he cannot get along without Him. This brings a person closer to the truth – Ain Ode Milvado – there is No One but Him. This combination of emuna and humility makes a person into a vessel capable of receiving Divine abundance.


6. By recognizing all the good that Hashem does for us we neutralize all sadness and depression. Gratitude leads to happiness, since grateful people are never bitter. On the other hand bitter people are never grateful. They focus on what they don’t like, even if it's minor; all the more so if it's something major.


7. Our most effective insurance policy is to thank Hashem for everything we have. When Hashem sees we are grateful and don’t take our blessings for granted, we’ll not only be able to hold onto them, we’ll see an increase in His kindness to us. Rebbe Nachman taught that the more you thank Hashem the more He will provide you to be thankful for.


8. Our job is to reveal Hashem as King. What happens when the Jewish people, the emissaries of the King are sad and depressed? Does this reflect well on the King? Does complaining and crying about everything large and small reveal His Monarchy or give honor to the King? Certainly not!


Serving Hashem with happiness and gratitude even during and especially during tough times crowns the King and hastens the day when His Kingship will be manifest over the entire world.


The remedy for crying over nothing is to thank Hashem for everything


Please keep these eight reasons for gratitude handy and review them often. Rabbi Arush says that each of us should read a page of Garden of Gratitude every day. We should then bring this material into our personal prayers asking Hashem for help to remember, internalize, and apply these concepts. In this way we’ll be able to instill and sustain an attitude of gratitude.  Just wait and see how your life will be transformed once you become a more grateful and positive person!


Your continuous expressions of gratitude will literally pave the road to your personal redemption and hasten the full redemption of our people and the entire world.


In Psalm 100 it says to enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His Courtyard with praise. The gates refer to the Temple Mount and the Courtyard refers to the Courtyard of the Holy Temple. In the merit of our positive attitude and expressions of gratitude may we soon enter the Courtyard of the rebuilt Holy Temple speedily in our day, Amen.

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