Want to keep in the loop on the latest happenings at Chabad Lubavitch of Idaho. Subscribe to our mailing list below. We'll send you information that is fresh, relevant, and important to you and our local community.
Printed from JewishIdaho.com

Remaining Thankful

Friday, 19 August, 2011 - 2:00 pm

This week’s shocking terror attacks in southern Israel jolted many of us.  As we mourn the loss of the victims and pray for the recovery of the injured, we are reminded of the challenges we still face.

Where do we draw the energy and passion to stand strong against atrocities as these? How do we effectively grieve, yet celebrate the amazing accomplishments of preserving our people and our tradition?

***

In this week’s Torah portion, Eikev, we are taught to thank G-d for the food He gives us: “And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d, for the good land He has given you.”

The Talmud goes so far as to say that we are required to mention three things during the second blessing of the Grace After Meals (bentching): 1) the land of Israel; 2) the Abrahamic covenant bestowing the land to the Jewish people; and 3) the Torah, which promises the land to the nation of Israel.

Why do we need to mention all this?

Certainly, the Torah is teaching us a powerful lesson about the food we eat. But perhaps it is also teaching us a lesson about the food we do not eat.

If we are to thank G-d only for the food we eat, it is – ultimately – self-serving gratitude. It’s good to say thanks, but it’s also selfish.

To truly appreciate G-d’s bounty we must remember that food is given to sustain us. And our sustenance is provided to allow us to be better people. The food we eat is a vehicle to do more mitzvahs, to be better Jews.

This, then, is the inner intent of the Sages insistence that we include the covenant with Abraham and the holy Torah. If we look at food as an end in itself, we have failed to digest the Torah’s message.  The true value of the land that gives us plenty is its connection to our Creator.  That’s what we need to remember when we thank G-d for our nourishment.

***

And when we evoke this deeper appreciation for the Holy Land, it isn’t only a place or political entity. It is a conduit for our very relationship with G-d. We don’t cherish the land and fight for it despite the difficulties. Rather the land represents our very raison d'être. It is what gives us strength to continue. It is the covenant and the Torah all wrapped in one.

Comments on: Remaining Thankful
There are no comments.