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Todah: Showing Gratitude

Todah: Showing Gratitude

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We generally don’t really appreciate that which we have until it looks like there’s a risk of losing it. When you’re going through financial difficulties, that’s when you learn the value of wealth. When sick or injured, that’s when you learn to value your health; and you really appreciate the gift of family only after they’ve gone.

There is a special blessing to be said after surviving danger. One who has been sick, or in another perilous situation, will come to the synagogue and say a blessing of gratitude at the Torah. In Temple times they’d also bring a korban todah (thanksgiving offering), to show their appreciation to G‑d for saving them from danger. We make this public affirmation of thanks because when you’ve nearly lost everything, you know how much you have to be grateful for, and you wish to openly show your appreciation to G‑d for His gifts and miracles.

The person offering a korban todah would also bring 40 large loaves of bread to the Temple, following which the meat and bread would be taken home and eaten. The Torah warns that “it shall be eaten on that day; leave none of it over to the next morning.”

There was no way that a single person, or even his extended family, could possibly consume such a large amount of food in such a short amount of time; so, obviously they’d have to invite their friends and neighbors over to join the meal. It is almost as if the Torah is forcing you to share your simchahs with the community. You’d sit together in company, rejoicing in G‑d’s blessings and recounting over and over the story of your escape from danger.

However, more than just a way of publicizing your personal miracle, the act of inviting others over to share in your bounty demonstrates the Jewish attitude to gratitude. When you have been personally blessed, seek to share your blessings with others.

Your wealth is a gift from G‑d—the jackpot won in the great lottery of life—and it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone else is looked after. If you enjoy good health, be thankful, and then actively seek to bring that comfort to other people who are waiting for their own blessing.

Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum is spiritual leader of Moorabbin Hebrew Congregation and co-director of L’Chaim Chabad in Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia.
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Tara Erin Brookfield, MA February 16, 2016

Thank you Thank you for this article. I'm not Jewish, but I find great truth and value in the teachings and practices of Judaism, and wanted to find a way to give thanks for my fiance, who has just received a job offer after being out of work for 3 years. This, the last of many hurdles we have had to ovecome in that time...

From your article, I understand the spirit of the Todah, but since most of those with whom I'd like to share my bounty live far away from me, a feast is not practical; instead, I will create an online art class event and invite them all to join me to celebrate! Thank you so much! Reply

Anonymous God's Heart January 5, 2016

Thank you (Todah Rabah) for posting this! "The ancient rabbis made a significant prediction regarding the todah: "In the coming [Messianic] age, all sacrifices will cease except the todah sacrifice. This will never cease in all eternity." (Pesiqta, I, p.159). Reply

Anonymous Scottsdale AZ USA April 27, 2013

Gratitude to G_D and sharing our good fortune so often thwarted... In these days we live in, we are in such fear of having an account "hacked" or a card number stolen, or a bank account drained by an unscrupulous entity that we often "hide our light under the proverbial basket". G_D often deals bountifully and generously with us. Answered prayer, businesses saved from financial ruin, past due mortgages caught up to date, and more. Health restored to family, friends, miracles happening in hospitals from coast to coast today. And yet we're often too afraid to share our blessings. I believe we must all try to become less fearful and more open with our friends and neighbors and let them know just HOW GREAT our G_D really is in his care and generosity toward each of us.The idea "that where much is given much is expected" has become all too foreign to us in America today. It is a philosophy we must seek to reclaim in our personal and public lives. Reply

Ros England April 27, 2013

Showing gratitude I couldn't agree more with this article.I had a health scare about a year ago,and when I got he "all clear" did the sky ever look so blue to me,or the sun so warm-even the rain felt good! I had lost touch with G-d and by His grace He spared me and brought me back to what's important.Since then I pray upon waking and give thanks-I give thanks for everything,for my very breath,and I never forget G-d's almighty hand protecting me.Praise be to G-d! Reply

VENKATESH INDIA April 21, 2013

GRATITUDE Yes its precisely this sense of gratitude that we have come to lack in today's times. I dont understand why people are afraid to show their gratitude to either G_D or any one who has showered any benefit.

It hardly takes anything to show ones gratitude. You are hardly set to lose anything so to say.

It is seen that even in working environment people are afraid to acknowledge/ appreciate a good job done.

We are in dire need to develop the courage to be gratituous for even the least that someone has done for us.

G_D bless us
Regards Reply