Seven years old, and yet to speak. His parents would have been more worried if the doctors hadn’t reassured them that their child seemed neurologically sound, and that he fitted within all the expected parameters of normal development.

One day, at breakfast, he suddenly turned to his mother and complained, “Mom, this porridge is cold and the toast is burnt!”

Shocked, his mother responded, “If you can talk, why have you said nothing till now?”

“Till now, everything has been fine.”

How many act like the little chutzpanyak in the above story; never a word of gratitude until everything goes pear-shaped, and then, don’t we just kvetch and moan. It’s almost as if we expect and demand that the good times keep rolling without any effort on our part, while we reserve the right to blame everyone else when the music stops.

Contrast this surly and unappreciative attitude with the other extreme. It’s uncomfortable to receive an overly enthusiastic reaction for a minor favor. Imagine if you were to hand a poor man a ten-cent coin, and he were to launch into a full-blown production, following you down the street on his hands and knees, tears of gratitude streaming down his cheeks. Even the most obtuse among us would begin to suspect that the beggar was putting on a show.

Good manners are a sign of breeding. And, if we wish our praise to be accepted, it is best to express gratitude in moderation. When invited to dinner, we might bring a bottle of wine or another token gift, It is considered polite to thank the hostess when she serves each course, and to express our appreciation when we’ve finished.

We read this week about the korban todah, the thanksgiving offering which was brought to the Temple by any Jew wishing to express gratitude to G‑d for His munificence and kindness. One might have thought that every Jew would be expected to bring this donation constantly. Everyone benefits from G‑d’s magnificent creation, and it is only polite to thank Him.

In truth, however, while we express gratitude to G‑d in our daily prayers and blessings, this sacrifice would be offered only on four special occasions: after 1) surviving a trip at sea, 2) traveling through a desert, 3) being released from jail or 4) recovering from serious illness.

Surviving these circumstances is considered miraculous intervention by G‑d, and deserving of an extra measure of gratitude and appreciation.

If you think about it, these miraculous events mirror the miracles G‑d performed as we left Egypt at the dawn of our formation as a nation. 1) G‑d split the sea, 2) helped us across the desert, and 3) looked out for our spiritual and 4) physical welfare.

We have never forgotten, and we constantly invoke the Exodus in our national narrative. When we gather in homes and halls all over the world this Passover to retell the story of our liberation, don’t just come bearing gifts of wine and matzah. Allow yourself to dream, hope, pray and praise our G‑d and Creator, who released us from the prison that was Egypt, and who continues to be there for us as we seek to break through the iron bars imprisoning our minds and hearts.