Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Thank G-d

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

A couple of days ago, a Jewish man drove up to the Kotel in an electric wheelchair. He was about 40 years old. You could see right away that his body was severely handicapped. He was surely born that way. I doubt that he has ever been able to take a single step in his entire lifetime without someone helping him.

My friend asked him if he had put on tefillin yet. He looked up to the sky, and with a look of reverence, he kissed the tips of his fingers and then raised his open hands upward.

"Baruch Hashem," he said.

"Blessed is G-d," is the literal translation of these words, but when they are used this way they really mean, "Yes, thank G-d."

Here's the question. Here is a man who has been severely handicapped his entire life. He has never been able to participate in normal physical activities. He cannot take a bus, and he cannot go to the majority of places that we all take for granted. He has always had to depend on others to help him to do the simplest tasks. I'm sure that his handicap interferes with almost all of his physical life. Yet, he can look up to Heaven and say, "Thank G-d."

The question is, how can you and I not be thankful for what we have? We have normal bodies, and pretty much physically do whatever we want with almost no trouble at all. In fact, since we have no trouble, we do not even think what a blessing it is that we can do them.

Yet, even so, so many of us go around moping, complaining, as if we are down and unhappy with our lives! Oy, oy. Don't do this one.

The next time you catch yourself feeling down and complaining about your portion, remember this guy in the wheelchair, and count a few of your blessings.

“Thank G-d that I am not in a wheelchair. Thank G-d that I do not have to go to the hospital a few times a week for kidney dialysis. Thank G-d that I do not have a headache. Thank G-d that I have food to eat and a place to sleep. Thank G-d. Thank G-d. Thank G-d.”

After a few minutes of thanking G-d for what you have, you are going to find yourself walking down the street singing the song of, "How happy I am that I am so blessed. Thank G-d."


someone said...

Ok, I really have difficulty with this approach. Yes, basic things of life, like health parnasa and family should be taken for granted, for it they're lacking, life is not worth living, and we can say to G-d, "why the h... did you create us?" It's like a parent who gives his child only food, but not water, and expects a thank you for the food, such a parent should go to prison! If you bring a child into the world, it's your utmost obligation to provide him with basic nessesities, anything less is simply criminal.

Oy, hearing about people with "big" problems really doesn't make me feel better about anything, it only makes me more angry at this hell hole and the one who created it. (And no, I'm not one who complains constantly.)

What do you have to say to that, Reb Locks? Trust me, I'm asking sincerely, I'm not trying to stur up trouble. Please answer if you can.

Feel free to delete this comment if you think it's inappropriate.

Gutman said...

Read the next piece I am sending out in a few days on this subject and then let me know if you still have any questions. Gutman

Mark Jennings said...

when a parent asks a child to be thankful for the food on his table, it's not for the parent that the request is made, but for the child. It builds character, and appreciation in life, to be thankful. When we are thankful to HaShem, and show our thankfulness, it does us the good, HaShem created all things, what does He need? We are the ones who need... to be thankful even for the little things. Why? because, HaShem is Who He is, if He was any other way, how would our lives be? He is chesed, if He is any other way, how would our lives be? It is a good thing to give thanks unto Adonai. He is never changing. It does our bodies good, to give thanks. The Joy of Adonai is our strength! Give thanks with Joy!

Anonymous said...

Because I lack a Tzadik to learn from I've been reading various autobiographies to learn how to behave. Reb Aryeh Levin's wife never raised her voice to her surviving children when they drove her to anger. She would simply mutter between her teeth, "You should only be well!"

I understand what "someone" wrote above. We all want greener pastures and not all handicaps are visible. Some people are crippled on the inside - emotionally or spiritually. Living with a family that lacks shalom bayit (peace at home) can also be very crippling.

Nevertheless, giving thanks for the things that HaShem has blessed us with is a wonderful coping mechanism, particularly when we just don't feel like giving thanks for anything. Further, it's away to strike back at our Evil Inclination, who would love nothing more than for us to just curl up in defeat. Thank HaShem for all that He has given us to be thankful for!

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