During the festive month of Tishrei we make many blessings, including when blowing the Shofar, making Kiddush, lighting candles, and over the Lulav and Etrog. One blessing is repeated many times, the Shehecheyanu, in which we say: “Blessed are You … who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.”

I serve as the director of a Chabad House that caters to the healing needs of those affected by addiction, as a representative of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. One of the benefits of working with a population of people who have come close to death is learning about how much gratitude plays a role in recovery and healing. Standing in my Sukkah this year, a recovering addict who is very close to my heart had a reaction that will stay with me for long time. Upon hearing the words of the Shehecheyanu blessing, he looked down and then up at me and said, “According to nature I shouldn’t be alive. G‑d surely has sustained me and brought me to this point in my life.” He got teary eyed, and then had a smile that reflected a deep sense of gratitude. He continued, “Who would have figured that I would not only be alive, or that I would be clean and sober, but sitting in a Sukkah? Celebrating as a Jew in a Jewish way… who would have figured?”

What my friend was saying was that he has totally accepted that where he is in life is only because of G‑d’s unconditional kindness. It would serve me well to take this point of his to heart. I don’t have to come close to total self-sabotage to feel grateful for how much G‑d has done for me. The acceptance that all that I have is only because of G‑d , is this true sense of humility that can bring me to true joy.

As a direct result of feeling grateful, my friend asked me what spiritual action he could add to his daily life. That’s proof that his feeling was real and that he had to translate it into action so that it becomes part of him.

When we say thank you to the One above, we get the response ‘‘You’re welcome!” And who doesn’t want to be welcomed by G‑d? In the end, I think the Shehecheyanu blessing could be called the Thanksgiving Blessing. After all, there is no greater blessing then being thankful.