Giving thanks


The prayer practice created by the ancient rabbis asks us to recite a prayer of gratitude three times a day.  Core to this prayer is bringing to our attention our place in the universe and all on which we depend for our continued existence.  The verb “to thank” in Hebrew – l’hodot – also carries the meaning “to acknowledge,” and the prayer prompts us to call to mind both the visible and invisible forces that make our lives possible and meaningful.  So at this time of year when the culture that surrounds us focuses, at least for a short time, on gratitude, it is a good time for us to recommit ourselves to a daily practice of giving thanks, perhaps starting with the people closest to us and moving outward in concentric circles all the way to the divine power that sustains us.  To realize how much we depend on others is to transform our attitude toward them, and this is the first step to transforming the world.  That we can do this in a small way each day is one of our greatest blessings.