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Is G-d Needy? He Expects Us to Pray 3 Times Daily!

Is G-d Needy? He Expects Us to Pray 3 Times Daily!

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Question:

My family very much enjoyed being at your Shabbat table; thanks again for the invite. I meant to ask you a question that has bothered me for years. It’s about prayer. Does G‑d have such an ego problem that He demands His creations to constantly pray to Him, telling Him how great He is? Not to mention the all the blessings every time we eat something, go to the bathroom, wash for bread, light Shabbat candles . . . Is G‑d so needy that He asks us to continuously bless Him?

Answer:

We loved having your wonderful family over. You should be very proud of them all.

But one thing disturbed me. Your children behaved really well, but I am a little concerned about your wife.

Every time your wife gave your son anything, like a piece of chicken, a drink or a toy to play with, she insisted that he say thank you to her.

Your son acquiesced, and each time she told him to, he said thank you. This went on throughout the meal, at least a dozen times.

This is a worry. Is your wife so insecure that she needs her son to constantly acknowledge her? Is it normal to almost force someone to thank you for even basic needs like food and drink, just to build up one’s own ego?

I think you get my point . . .

Your wife was being an exemplary mother, teaching her children a valuable lesson on gratitude and humility: when you are given something, big or small, you must acknowledge the giver. Her request to be thanked was not for herself; it was for her children. She got nothing out of her son’s thanks, other than the pride in seeing her child developing his character. But your son was learning a precious lesson.

Like a devoted parent who wants the best for His children, G‑d trains us to thank Him. He doesn’t need our thanks so much as we need to thank Him. Because everything we have, including life itself, is a gift. The minute we forget that, the minute we take even the simplest pleasures for granted, we stop living a life of wonder.

Parents who do not impart the trait of appreciation to their children are not only making life difficult for themselves, they are robbing their children of a basic tool for life. Only when we see everything as a gift can we be happy with what we have, rather than miserable about what we don’t have.

So we should thank G‑d for everything, even for asking us to thank Him. Gratitude is a gift too.


Sources:
Siddur, Modim DeRabbanan
See Talmud, Sotah 40a: “We thank You, G‑d, for the fact that we thank You.”
Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Matias US September 16, 2015

We are ' entitled' for at least a regular 3 meals per day, everyday.

The minimum we can certainly equally do, is to pray same 3 times. Reply

Ralph Moran Glendale, Arizona September 9, 2015

Prayer 3 time a day Only three times a day, The answer of course is no we should say thank you Lord many times daily. You do not have to stop what you are doing to say Thank You Lord, maybe it's a parking space or a near miss of an accident or just maybe it is nothing more than seeing something that is beautiful. G-D does not need our thanks but we do need his love for us. Seeing something beautiful and saying thank you Lord is just saying thanks for opportunity to see or to breathe and enjoy all the gifts and beauty G-D has given us. So many people don't see it or don't even care yet they say "I'm a Christian or I'm a Jew" but when we see in the word of G-D how much he loves us we need to tell him, Thank You Reply

Joshua G. Etnanta Indonesia September 7, 2015

Todahrabah Reply

Anonymous September 7, 2015

A minimum of 3 prayers a day is necessary, because even at your worst emotionally if you are trained to remember God at least 3 times a day and to say thank you, then it will be harder for you to move away from God to forget his existence in the everyday mundane things of life, and this is important. Most people thank God way more than 3 times a day, they mumble a thanks, when they snack on something yummy, when traffic is light, when weather is good, when the sunset is pretty, when the weather is pleasant. It lifts the mood and connects you with God. Reply

Kevin Gomez September 7, 2015

Thanking God always keeps our hearts tender and sensitive to Him. A hardened heart is a result of leading a life of ungratefulness (not giving thanks to Him often) Reply

Josh London September 7, 2015

But why 3 times? Why is not 2, or once enough during the day? Do the Muslims have it right? They say 5? Surely it s a personal matter that can't be numbered? Reply

Fro September 6, 2015

That's one of the most profound fundamental lesson on life I have ever come across. Thank you so much Reply

Kfir Toronto September 6, 2015

Hashem gives us advice for our own good, everything is a blessing Reply

Dave92 NY September 6, 2015

What a wonderful answer! Thank you. Reply

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