By Rabbi Yisrael Pinson
Since I moved to the United States I learned that November means two things: Turkey and Gratitude. Thankfully I am well versed in the Hebrew language, and I didn't have to memorize much: the word in Hebrew for turkey - HODU, means... "Be Grateful"... And it is also the first word of my prayer every morning. The Jewish Prayers start with the verse from Chronicles 16:8 "Be grateful to the L0rd, proclaim His Name, make his deeds known among the nations".
In order to improve my conscious contact with G0d, I need to pray and meditate. The key to my prayer and the secret to my connection, is my humility. That brings us back to the word HODU, which can also be translated as "Be Humble". Can I really connect to a Higher Power if I think I am a higher power myself? Will I be willing to ask for G0d's will for me and the power to carry it out, if all I am concerned about is my own will and desires?
Gratitude is also impossible without humility. If I believe that all my success can be traced to my own power, I have no reason to be grateful. If I am convinced that I truly deserve all the gifts that are coming my way, I have no need to say Thank You. The only way to have gratitude is when I have the humility to recognize that I am not all that powerful. When I acknowledge that left to my own devices I have repeatedly engaged in unhealthy behaviors with negative consequences, I can be grateful to G0d that helps me stay away from my dysfunctional self.
And the best way to express my humility is to show gratitude. It is not enough to think humble, or to speak humble, but I have to act humble. I act humble, when I act grateful. When I recognize that what I have is a gift, it is natural for me to share the gift with others. When I appreciate actions that others take to help me, I am compelled to take actions to help others.
So, every morning, as I start my day I am reminded of three things: HODU - Be Humble. HODU: Be Grateful. HODU: Don't forget your turkey sandwich for lunch...
Rabbi Yisrael Pinson
Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House