Posts tagged " gratitude "

Before Thanksgiving

November 15th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

My trusty computer didn’t come up with an answer when I asked it who H.W. Westermayer was. Perhaps someone reading this knows. I do know that when I read this quote of his, it resonated with me.

“The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts… nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”

I have often wondered at the celebrations on V-E Day when the Allies accepted Germany’s surrender or the song the Israelites sang at the Red Sea. In both cases, immense suffering led up to the day of victory and there were still bloody battles ahead.

The triumph at hand did not bring back anyone who had been killed or restore the health of the wounded. It didn’t fill the holes in people’s hearts and more sorrow was imminent.

Yet, like the Pilgrims, the people of those generations expressed words and feelings of gratitude to God.  What is it about human nature that responds to ease and comfort with ingratitude, yet recognizes the need for thanks after passing through tough times? Each year, Thanksgiving gets erased a little more with revisionist history changing the meaning of the day and dreams of scoring low prices on wanted items pushing to the front of our consciousnesses. Let’s take a moment to picture those graves and the courage of those who came searching for a better life and willing to pay a dear, and often final,  price to acquire it.

 

I’m resenting always being the designated driver.

August 28th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 18 comments

As a person who abstains from drinking (for reasons of self-discipline), I am often expected (usually by assumption or without asking) to be the driver for most events and parties with my family and friends.

Does my personal decision not to drink bring with it the responsibility of serving others around me in this manner? Logically, why should others not enjoy themselves at a party (remain sober to drive) if I have already decided not to drink? I sometimes feel “used,” though, because of my personal decision.

Dear Involuntary Designated Driver,

We love how the questions that come into our Ask the Rabbi mailbox make us think. Your question certainly did that.

We would like to expand your question. In many ways it is the same one as the at-home mother whose work-in-an-office neighbor asks her to sign for her packages or let the plumber into her house. We could brainstorm and think of a dozen similar situations. Basically, people are assuming that they are asking another person for something that is no big deal.

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Happy Thinksgiving

November 23rd, 2017 Posted by Susan's Musings 21 comments

No, that isn’t a typo; its a deliberate misspelling. We are heading out soon to share a Thanksgiving feast with friends. Since we had a family celebration last weekend, most of our out-of-towners are unable to come back this week and, unfortunately, our in-towners are under the weather.  Friends graciously invited us to join them.

A quick thought before I get ready to go. As a mother, one of the earliest words I taught my children was thank-you. Even before they could possible repeat the words, I voiced the syllables when I handed them toys or food. I don’t think I am unique; millions of mothers do the same.

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Bernie Sanders’ Christophobia

June 13th, 2017 Posted by Thought Tools 77 comments

If you have been reading Thought Tools for a while or enjoyed any of our other ancient Jewish wisdom resources, you probably suspect, correctly, that you have a better Jewish education than most secular people of Jewish descent. You might even know that the entire Jewish nation take its name from Jacob’s fourth son, Judah.   Why is this so? Because the meaning of Judah, Yehuda in Hebrew, is gratitude, and ancient Jewish wisdom identifies the trait of gratitude as one of the most important defining characteristics of Jewish identity.

Although descended from Jewish bloodlines, Bernie Sanders probably doesn’t know the above information and as a declared atheist he has chosen to reject his ancestors’ faith. Nonetheless, in the eyes of America and the world he is a Jew. For this reason, I am sharing an important column written by our friend Ben Stein, which so effectively captures the view of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians. It was just published in The Spectator (www.Spectator.org) where his work regularly appears.  I am grateful for permission to share it with our Thought Tool subscribers.

Ben Stein’s Diary

I am a Jew. All of my ancestors have been Jews since Judaism was founded almost 6,000 years ago on the belief of a monotheistic God. I pray in Hebrew every morning and every night. And I am deeply, cruelly, painfully embarrassed at my fellow Jew, Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont.

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Gratitude and Gorsuch

February 2nd, 2017 Posted by Susan's Musings 66 comments

I must open this Musing with gratitude. Gratitude to those of you who wrote such lovely comments after last week’s Musing and to those of you who thought of writing but never quite did (been there done that). I am truly honored by your friendship. Many of you also sent lovely notes and heartfelt prayers just one year ago when our daughter had emergency surgery and delivered her son prematurely. I’m filled with gratitude to you and overwhelmingly to God for the good health they both now enjoy that can make those scary days seem much longer ago than they actually are.

Like most Americans, I only heard about Judge Neil Gorsuch recently. Not to worry—a quick search brings up any number of articles with titles such as, “Seven Things to Know about Judge Gorsuch,” or “Five Important Facts about the Supreme Court Nominee.” Scanning those articles didn’t answer my main question.

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Something for Nothing

August 31st, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 2 comments

Here is one way to give your employee a raise:  “You’ve been with us for a year now, Enid; that means that you are due for your first raise. Congratulations, your pay is going up 5%.”

There’s another way to do it.  “During the year you’ve been with us, Enid, you’ve really made a difference.  I asked our accountant to calculate how much extra revenue your innovations brought to the company and the answer was very impressive. The way you came up with improvements in operations and how you then implemented those ideas has been incredibly effective.  We’re happy to raise your pay 5%, you really deserve it.”

I think we all know that the second approach is a far better way.  Though child-rearing is not the same as managing employees, some principles are similar.  Sadly, I often see parents violating these rules.  Some parents bribe their children with candy or watching videos in order to try and obtain the desired behavior.  A bribe is quite different from a reward. One precedes performance while the other follows it.

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Can you recommend ways to deal with stress?

August 17th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

I was wanting to know if there is any ancient Jewish wisdom regarding how to handle stress and anxiety in everyday life.

Thank you Shalom and God Bless.

– La’Shar

Answer:

Dear La’Shar,

There are so many different ways we can approach your question, and it is one that touches on each of our lives. Perhaps, that is the starting place. Have you ever tried to open a door using the wrong key? No matter how much you jiggle the key or how irritated you get, the door won’t open. You need to try another key. (more…)

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