Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There is something unique about Thanksgiving. It's so easy to take the gifts that we have for granted. To let the hustle and bustle of life occupy every single moment, with no time left to express our gratitude.

We need to pause. To recognize. To say “thank you.”

There are three types of thank you.

The basic one is to express your thanks after the fact. Someone gave you something you wanted, or needed. You show appreciation by saying “thanks.”

A more advanced way to express your gratitude is to say “TIA,” thanks in advance. Why wait until you’ve actually received the gift or positive act to acknowledge the good coming your way?

Perhaps the highest level of thanks is the one demonstrated by our forefather Jacob. In this week’s Torah portion, he is preparing for a dangerous journey to a new land, the land of Haran. All he wants is to make it back home alive, to “return in peace to my father’s house.”

So he prays, and he is grateful in advance, but then he says something very powerful:

“If I return in peace ... everything that You give me, I will surely tithe to You.”

This is the highest form of thanks: not only to recognize and appreciate what you have, but to show how this gift is so meaningful to you by doing something special, something holy, with that gift.

You know, as a rabbi, I’ve given many gifts and received many thank you notes. Nothing touches my heart more than “thank you for this kiddush cup, we will be using it every Shabbat.” This is appreciation in the deepest form—actually expressing your thanks in concrete action.

So this Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful. But let's take it even further.

Thank you G‑d for giving me wonderful children. I will do my best to raise them in a way that will make You happy.

Thank you for the nice house you gave me. I will use it to host others.

I am so appreciative of the car I have, I will ride it to shul on weekdays, and use it do many other mitzvahs.

Thank you for my wonderful life, I will dedicate more time to helping people less fortunate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, and thanks for reading :).