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Blog - Torah Insights

Thank You

Why are people so ungrateful? Why don't your teenage children appreciate all that you do for them? Why does your spouse take you for granted? Why do your co-workers not thank you for your important contribution to the team? It could be argued that  what strains so many of our relationships is that the person we are so desperately trying to connect to does not acknowledge our effort.

Indeed, acknowledge is the key word.

The Hebrew word for thank you, Hodaah, is the same word As acknowledge - as in 'I may disagree with your point of view but I acknowledge that you have your own perspective'.

Why is thanking so connected to acknowledgement, to the extent that the Hebrew puts them in the same word? The answer is simple, only by acknowledging the other's perspective can you truly thank her. To illustrate: my mother did, and continues to do, so much for me. My biggest obstacle to thanking her is that from my perspective everything she does is because, as a mother, she is supposed to do; I mean isn't that her job? The only way I can genuinely thank her is if I adopt her perspective. If I can appreciate all that she sacrificed of herself for me, all those times she could have taken care of herself yet she lovingly dedicated the time to me. Only when I acknowledge her perspective - "Hodaah" - can I say - "Todah" - thank you.

The same is true for our long standing dispute with G-d. Our perspective is that our life, health, and success is due to our independent efforts, and the only person we need to thank is ourselves. From G-d's perspective, however, the entire universe is being brought into existence every moment by the word of G-d. From his perspectives the only true reality is the G-dly vitality within every created being.

The only way we can thank him is if, even if we cannot fully adopt his perspectives, we are open minded enough to acknowledge that there is another perspective in addition to our own.

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