Religious : : Religious Committee Report

We recently finished our season of introspection and asking for forgiveness. As we begin November, we enter a season, if you will, of Thank You. It is, after all, the month of our American holiday of Thanksgiving and is a good time to think about all the things for which we are thankful. In Hebrew we are called Y ehudim, descendants of Judah. The Hebrew literally means that we are “the ones who give thanks.”

One of the first things we teach our children and grandchildren to say is “Thank You.” Do you realize that we say Thank You in prayer every day? Let’s explore some of the ways we say thank you in prayer. Every time we say “Baruch ata Adonai,” “Praised are you, Lord our G-d” we are saying a thank you to G-d.

The first words out of our mouths in the morning are supposed to be Modeh (Modah for women) ani l’fa-necha – “I am grateful to You, living and enduring King for restoring my soul to me in compassion. You are faithful beyond measure.” Modeh means thank you. During the Amidah every day we say the Modim prayer – “Modim anachnu lach”, “We thank you.” This is something we say individually because saying thank you is not something that someone else can do on our behalf; we must do it ourselves.

There are additional prayers we say in which we say thank you. At the end of Psalm 30 which we say every morning, we recite “You changed my mourning into dancing, You changed my sackcloth into robes of joy, that I might sing your praise unceasingly, that I might thank You, Lord my G-d forever.” During the week we recite Psalm 100, Mizmor L’Todah, a psalm of Thanksgiving.” Psalm 90, Psalm for Shabbat, we sing “Tov L’Hadot L’Adonai”, “It is good to give thanks to G-d.” And in Ein Keloheinu which we sing near the end of the Shabbat morning service, the third verse is a thank you to G-d, we say “Nodeh”, we thank: “Let us thank our G-d, our Lord. Let us thank our King, our Deliverer.”

Are we done saying thank you to G-d when our service is over? Of course not. Every time we have a meal, we say thanks during the Birkat Ha-Mazon, the Grace After a Meal It is a prayer full of thank you’s.

What about every time we say the Shechiyanu? “Praised are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe for granting us life, sustaining us and helping us to reach this day.” Think of all the times we say the Shechiyanu, on holidays and at joyous times in our lives. We recognize that we need to say thanks for the wonderful things in our lives.

So, at this season of our American Thanksgiving, let us remember all of our blessings, all the good things in our lives. Let us always think of the glass being half full. Let us remember to do this not only on Thanksgiving but every day. If we do, we will appreciate what we have and that in turn will make us happier. Thank you for being part of our lives and our Temple Judea family.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Sandy Shapiro and Arnold Miller, Co-Chairs