25 Elul 5783/September 11, 2023
Change Towards Gratitude
by Rabbi Lawrence Malinger
When we awaken in the morning, we should recite, Modah/modeh ani lifanecka—I am grateful. In this practice we do not need to name what it is we feel grateful for, nor do we need to feel particularly thankful in the moment we utter this phrase. We simply say these words and by doing so place the intention of gratitude upon our hearts. In my congregation, we always pause in our service during the prayer of Thanksgiving and invite worshippers to share what they are most grateful for. Too often in our lives, we are quick to criticize what is not going well in our lives. A positive change that will strengthen all of us is to recognize and then name the blessings that we are grateful for. When we do so, we are able to appreciate these moments and recognize our gratitude every day. Rabbi Zelig Pliskin writes that, “Living with gratitude elevates your entire life. You become a more spiritual person. You become a more joyful person. You become a kinder and more compassionate person. You become a calmer and more peaceful person. You become a person who lives in greater harmony with others.” There is a LOT to be gained by simply saying thank you! Elul is the reminder to pay attention to the good that we are blessed with in our lives. Don’t ignore it, don’t take it for granted!