Wednesday, April 01, 2009

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Hakares HaTov - Thanks to Hashem

by R. Nati at Mystical Paths

Hashem gives us many chances to start over, to improve and do better. Each and every morning we get a fresh start, a chance to begin again. This is why Breslever chassidim are always happy and follow the fundamental teaching of Rebbe Nachman - to be "b'simcha tamid" (always happy). Why? Because we are not carrying the heavy wagon of yesterday and the loaded pack of tomorrow.

Hashem keeps sending opportunities knocking at the our door, we must not ignore them! Every day we can utilize our lives to serve Hashem. Act now! Prayer is always considered 'timely'.

Our attitude is most important aspect of our life. Even if the blessings are flowing all around us, if we don't have the right attitude we can lose the opportunity to benefit. Think on this "A good heart is always at a banquet" (Mishlei 15:15). One with a good heart is always happy.

Hashem loves us and desires to help us. Act as if Hashem will help you and He will. Look for the positive results and Hashem will help. Like we say in Yiddish "Tracht gut, vet zein gut", think good and it will be good. As we get up in the morning and get our wits about us, we should run to pray in order to ask Hashem to please please help us see the blessings and to have a successful day serving Him.

In Hebrew, the phrase for giving thanks is 'Hakaras Hatov', recognizing the good. Hashem is the only Creator and Controller of the entire universe. Everything else is His creation. One of the basic fundamental teachings of the Torah is that we are obligated to "repay" our benefactor for every benefit we receive, by recognizing and thanking Him. Thus, every morning we must remember to be grateful for the sun, example of a daily benefit that we take for granted, as we just assume that it will be there, and express our gratitude for it to the Creator of all.

In morning praises we say "With Your great mercy, have mercy on us." Why? We are pleading with Hashem specifically to open our eyes to see His creation so we do not waste our lives living in spiritual darkness. Thankfulness is not limited to just thanking Hashem for allowing us to view His creation and to experience His amazing world. The Mishnah (Avos 1:6) teaches that friends are so valuable we should 'buy' them. If you have a friend who lights up your day then take time to thank Hashem for him. Just an example of all that we can be thankful for, the list is endless and surely you can fill in the blanks.

Hakaras hatov is very important. While a person may truly be humble and tell you there is no need to thank him for all the favor he has shown you, it is nevertheless a fundamental Torah obligation to express our thanks. In this way we begin to train ourselves to also thank the ultimate Giver, Hashem. With this we can change the very nature of the world!

Thank you Hashem for being able to pray and to write what was on my heart today as an expression of my thankfulness to You.

(Photos: New Moon over the Tomb of King David, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, by R. Nati.)

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