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Vayetze 5782

November 8, 2021

Rabbi Geier


BS"D || Rabbi Geier

Vayetze 5782

How do you say thank you when there is a lot to be thankful for? You just say "thank you very much" and that's it? Sometimes it sounds like little.

But do we always appreciate when it is appropriate to do so? Are we as grateful as we should be to those who take care of us, or favor us?

Perhaps most of the time we are not fair in our appreciation to the point that we should. And we also know that not everyone is grateful. There are those who understand that "ba lahem", as we say in Hebrew. That the things that are given to them simply correspond to them, they deserve them. Poor... there are people who are seriously poor. Poor in the midst of his supposed wealth.

Lea is a beinonit, she is not poor, but she is not extremely grateful either. If you look at this week's parashah, Lea is just giving thanks for her fourth child. And this has its reason for being. Lea understands that in the proportion of children that each of Jacob's wives and pilagshot (concubines) will have, it will only become important when the number of 3 children passes. The calculation is with respect to the 12 tribes, and then it leaves her better off by having 4 against 3 or less than the other mothers in the family will have.

It's true. THAT was his might. She was the fruitful of the group.

But let's go back to appreciation. Only when she understands that she is favored, is when she manages to lower herself.

If we pay due attention to what our tradition transmits to us, there is a tefilah that begins with “Modeh ani”, I THANK YOU, which we repeat just when we wake up. We thank you precisely for being able to start another day of life. And we don't know how well we can do... or not. Simple. “Modeh ani.”

Be thankful for what we do have. Be thankful for all that we do achieve. But, above all, to thank because we are alive and we have the possibility to DO. We have the possibility to correct, to help, to fulfill to love, to fulfill ourselves, to contain ourselves, to give ourselves. The possibilities are multiple. It depends on each one. But you always start by thanking yourself.

There is a paragraph of the Amidah that even when the Sheliach Tzibur (the person who is leading the prayer) is rereading it, it is the kahal, the rest of the people, who must read a related paragraph at the same time. We know this paragraph as “Modim anachnu lach...”, we thank you ...

As I said, the Shliach Tzibur has been reading the WHOLE Amidah on behalf of those who do not know it and must correct it or those who have been distracted and wish to put their Kavanah in prayer. But in this part… the officiant reads a paragraph and the rest of the people read a similar one that begins in the same way “Modim anachu Lach…”, we thank you… and they continue with some differences in the text.

Do you know why people read at the same time as the one who leads the prayer? Because the Sheliach Tzibur can say all the Amida on our behalf, but the gratitude, the moment of saying “thank you” is personal. It is inalienable and non-transferable.

It is time to recognize that what we have, even though we could have earned it, could have been favored by someone in some way or another. And that MUST be appreciated. Even the Kadosh Baruch Hu.

If you haven't already. You have a debt. With your neighbor, with your loved one, your family member and, perhaps, with the Creator.

We try to start paying our debts? In this case, the favored one will be you. Surely.

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