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The Weekly Reflection – Parshas Ki Savo:
Gratitude – The Foundation of a Passionate Judaism

By Rav Simcha Klein

דברים (כו,ג) וּבָאתָ אֶל הַכֹּהֵן אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו הִגַּדְתִּי הַיּוֹם לה’ אֱלֹקיךָ כִּי בָאתִי אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה’ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ לָתֶת לָנוּ.
ופרש”י, “ואמרת אליו – שאינך כפוי טובה” ע”כ.

The mitzvah of bikkurim teaches us that it is not sufficient to merely feel gratitude to Hashem for what he gives us, rather we must show our appreciation through actions. Therefore, it is incumbent on every Jew not only to feel or even express gratitude to Hashem for the gift of land in Eretz Yisroel, but he must also take action by choosing his first ripe fruit and bringing it up to the Bais Hamikdash to give to the kohein.
According to the sefer Chovos Halevavos, the primary motivating factor for a person to fulfill any mitzvah of Hashem is a sense of overwhelming gratitude to Him for all that He does for us every living moment.

There is an exact parallel between the strength of a person’s feelings of appreciation to Hashem and the strength of his enthusiasm to fulfill his obligations to Him. Therefore, anyone who feels a diminished passion for mitzvos and is performing them in a lackadaisical manner, the fastest way to rejuvenate his mitzvah experience is to compile a detailed list of all the chasodim Hashem does and continues to do for him and to constantly review it.The following is a list of random chasdai Hashem composed by a friend of mine:

I thank you Hashem for ….

1. The ability to pick coins off the floor with my finger nails.
2. The capacity to enjoy multiple flavors simultaneously.
3. The invigorating sensation of a cool breeze on a warm day.
4. The pain reflex.
5. Waking up refreshed.
6. The capacity to calm down and relax.
7. The good character to be repulsed by moral perversion.
8. The coordination needed to walk unaided.
9. The capability of self-expression.
10. Eyes that see the world in color.
11. Muscles to lift heavy packages.
12. The will to succeed in life.
13. The aptitude for computer skills.
14. Being born into a world with indoor plumbing and electricity.
15. The miracle drugs called antibiotics.
16. Remembering small details.
17. The wherewithal to rebound after setbacks.
18. The dexterity needed to cut my toenails.
19. Velcro.
20. Instant coffee.
21. My refrigerator.
22. Laptops.
23. The enjoyment of humor.
24. The capacity to carry a tune.
25. The gift of children.
26. Disposable diapers.
27. The air conditioner in my car.
28. My car horn.
29. Healthy children.
30. Memory.
31. Comfortable shoes.