During these days, we are thinking about those who have gone above and beyond and how to give thanks. There is a principle in Judaism called “hakarat hatov” — it means recognizing benefits afforded us and giving expression to our appreciation. The first step is hard when things are challenging but perhaps that is the time we look even harder. Look for the big heroes but don’t forget the small acts of giving that surround you. Giving expression and thankfulness is the second step and very important not just for those we are grateful for but it is important for us. Expressing thanks makes us even more aware of how lucky we are!
Here is a Gratitude — Hoda’ah Scavenger Hunt. Do it at your home or on your walk! Write what you find and hang it somewhere you can see.
Something I am thankful for:
• In nature
• That makes a beautiful sound
• That tastes good
• That smells amazing
• That has been hard for me
• That I would like to share with others
• That is older than me
• That I recently discovered or learned
• That shows a vibrant color
• That has words on it
• That makes me feel strong
• That makes me laugh
• That makes me cry
• That is someone I love (outside of my family)
This is just a beginning list — do it alone or do it on Zoom. Make a game of it. Whatever way you do it, never stop being thankful every day of your life — saying blessings is one way to make sure you stop and enjoy the moment. Get a blessings app on your phone so that you are always ready with the perfect way to say thank you for the wonders in the world around us. And to all of you who tell me you enjoyed something I wrote — THANK YOU!
Shabbat Shalom from the Shabbat Lady,
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.