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Todah Le’HaShem Part IV

Updated: May 27, 2020

“And not like those who cry out like dogs Hav Hav [give us more, give us more]” (Tikunei HaZohar Tikkun 18 Daf 34a)

ולא כאותן דצוחין ככלבין הב הב, כנזכר בשם התקונים (תיקון יח דף לד ע"א)

The idea to write a textual map of how to attain true happiness began with a deeper idea that is often taken for granted—saying Todah Le’HaShem[1].  The Tikkunei HaZohar says that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Am Yisrael is that we do not simply ask for more and more, like the unending appetite of a dog.  Rather, a Jew is expected to actually designate times to say Todah Le’HaShem for the countless gifts HaShem has already given us.  Of course there must be many grateful non-Jews around the world, but, as usual, the Jew is expected to be on a different level.  The importance of gratitude for Am Yisrael is so dear, that the Tikkunei HaZohar describes praying only for sustenance as the act of those who forgot the language of the King—instead knowing and following their King, they have adapted the customs and languages of the other nations. 

“It is good to thank HaShem and to sing praise to Your Name, O Exalted One.”(Psalm 92:2)

טוֹב לְהֹדוֹת לַיקוָק וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ עֶלְיוֹן (תהילים צב ב)

It requires no mental strain to understand that gratitude is one of the basic necessities of humanity, let alone for us to attain true holiness. But what good is King David referring to about Todah Le’HaShem?[2]  Although thanking anyone for something good is the natural behavior of a person with good middot, the Ramchal reminds us that even the best of us tend to routinely ignore or overlook the simple and obvious.[3]  A person that is not exerting effort to consciously remind themselves of the good in their lives, can easily fall into the trap of only focusing on the difficulties. This is not due to the difficulty of finding good in our lives, but quite the contrary.   The average person reading this has so much good in their lives that they have become numb to it.  We sometimes forget the source of all that’s good (i.e. HaShem) to the point that we expect good to be our status quo.  We expect our eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to feel and even have enough money to afford a delicious lunch.  Our expectations of the basic needs of survival are so high and standardized, that we forget they are good.  By reminding ourselves to say Todah Le’HaShem, we are systematically forcing ourselves to do a conscious review of our good inventory.           

Eitzah Tovah (Good Advice)

In order to avoid the pain of forgetting important things, most of us live with countless reminders.  Whether set as a reminder to meet someone for business, or as a reminder to get to the airport, the alarm clock is the reminder tool for what we perceive as important.  After a study session with an Avrech from the Chofetz Chaim Kollel a few years ago, we arrived at the brilliant idea of setting a reminder to say Todah Le’HaShem at a set time each day.  Unlike the time you pray to HaShem with requests throughout the day, take a full 5 minutes to simply list the things you are grateful for, without mentioning a single request.  Yes, my phone rings each day at 12:30pm with the text on the screen showing Time to Say Todah Le’HaShem. 

“He who offers Todah honors Me; and one who orders [his] way, I will show him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)

זֹבֵחַ תּוֹדָה יְכַבְּדָנְנִי וְשָׂם דֶּרֶךְ אַרְאֶנּוּ בְּיֵשַׁע אֱלֹקים (תהלים נ כג)

This amazing reminder will not only change your day, but your overall perception of life. Richness and fulfillment is already in your life, and it’s just waiting to be uncovered by a simple, yet brilliant Eitzah that requires some effort. To get your daily motivation boosted further, take a look at the secret King David tells us in Psalm 50—saying Todah Le’HaShem is key to getting all salvation from HaShem Yitbarach.      

For those of you who want even more happiness and blessing in both this world and the next, BeEzrat HaShem we will discuss more Torah details in part V of our Todah Le’HaShem series.  In the meantime, we should all take this time to think, reflect and realize that we all live a life that’s full of difficulty;  it’s time to make something good out of it. This opportunity alone is reason enough to say Todah Le’HaShem (Thank You to HaShem).

“It (Torah) is a tree of life to those who grasp it, and its supporters are praiseworthy” (Proverbs 3:18)

If you ask the praiseworthy supporters why they grasp it, they’ll simply tell you that it’s their tree of life. 


[1] Thank You to the God of Yisrael

[2] Psalm 92:2

[3] See Path of The Just – Author’s introduction

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