A MINDSET - NOT JUST A RESPONSE
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
Gratitude is one of the most powerful and important values. Jewish literature is full of sources highlighting the importance of showing appreciation. Modern Psychology has proven that gratitude generates happiness along with other physical and emotional benefits.
But what exactly is gratitude and how is it achieved? Here is a thought to consider:
Gratitude is a mindset, not just a response.
Often we show gratitude when we receive something of obvious benefit. When someone does us a huge favor, saves us from ill fate or gives us a gift we respond by saying thank you and expressing our appreciation. But gratitude is much deeper than that. Gratitude means to have a constant feeling of gratefulness even for things that are not as obvious. Gratitude means to develop an ability to focus on the positive and to see good even when there is challenge. It means to notice the small gifts that we constantly receive and to feel thankful for them.
When G-d brought the ten plagues upon the Egyptians, He instructed Moses that the river would turn to blood after it was smitten with a staff. Moses however would not be the one to smite the river. His brother Aaron would do it instead. The reason given is that when Moses was a baby he was placed in the river for protection. It would demonstrate lack of gratitude if Moses would smite the very river that protected him. Water has no feelings, but nevertheless a person must live constantly with a feeling and consciousness of gratitude.
Gratitude is not being polite to say "thank you". It is a constant consciousness that develops from an ongoing positive attitude.