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

Attitude of Gratitude

When we develop a close relationship with God, we begin to see that everything in life is an expression of His love for us, and that every obstacle we face is for our benefit…


Transcribed by Devora Shifrin


A parable was told of a man who found himself stuck on the roof of a building. In the hopes that someone would come to his aid, he took some coins out of his pocket and threw them off the side of the building. Each time a coin landed on the pavement below, a pedestrian would bend down, pick up the coin, pocket it, and continue on his way. The man quickly found himself without any coins or a way off the roof. In his desperation to catch the attention of anyone walking down below, he began to throw rocks toward the pavement. Upon getting hit by a fallen rock, the pedestrian promptly cried out and looked up to see where the stone came from.


In this life, we are like the pedestrians below. When showered with “coins”, we bend down, smile momentarily at our good fortune, and continue on our way. It is when we are hit with a “rock” that we immediately cry out, look up, and try to discover why the rock was thrown in the first place.


Our purpose in this world is to cultivate a relationship with our Creator. When we develop a close relationship with God, we begin to see that everything that happens in life is an expression of His love for us, and that every obstacle we face is for our benefit. Our perception of good and bad is relative to our faith in God’s plan. By expressing gratitude when God’s love for us is manifested in both mercy and judgment, we are communicating the ultimate expression of emuna.


It is human nature, however, to quickly forget the good times, and to mainly call out to God as difficulties arise. When we become overwhelmed by our burdens, and face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it may be difficult to recognize the many blessings that have been bestowed upon us. It is precisely in these times of darkness, however, that it is imperative to focus on the light that we have in other areas of our lives.


Instead of focusing on the injustice of it all, we can attract abundant blessing by becoming joyful despite the hardships we face. We can attain this joy by concentrating on the gifts that we may take for granted, such as, the ability to utilize our five senses, the mobility of our limbs, having clean drinking water to drink, etc. Once we begin taking small steps toward fostering joy from expressing gratitude, we will re-channel that energy from dejection and hopelessness, toward prayer and connection to God, thereby attracting more light into the dark spaces of our reality.


Every hardship is a catalyst for growth and an opportunity to strengthen our bond with the Almighty. It is an opportunity to call out to Him and pray; for the strategy to overcome any obstacle, for the ability to connect with him through the good and bad, the clarity to recognize the source of our blessings, and the courage to build a relationship with Him based on gratitude.


* * *   

Gedale Fenster, a Miami-based entrepreneur and motivational speaker, is the founder and CEO of the People’s Insurance Claim Center and Evolutions Treatment Center. He has also established the Breslov Center, where he teaches. He hosts a series of daily and weekly online lectures at gedalefenster.com.

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