Gratitude and Appreciation by Rabbi Hershel Solnica zt'l


      Our Avos and Imahos were, are, and will always be important role models for us to replicate.  It is for this reason that the Torah relates so many aspects of their lives and their deaths.

    The Posuk states that Avraham was old, on in age, and Hashem blessed him "בכל", with "everything" (בראשית כ"ד:א).  Rashi comments on the word "בכל" that its numerical value (52) is equivalent to that of the word "בן", son and the Posuk thus implies that Hashem blessed Avraham with a son.  Other Meforshim comment that Avraham had a daughter and her name was "בכל. "

    Rabbi Mordechai Hakohen (father of the late Rabbi Pinchas Peli, who compiled the Sefer על התשובה by Harav Yoseph B. Soloveitchik), makes a powerful comment in his Sefer "על התורה" on this Posuk.  He says that Hashem blessed Avraham with the ability to say "בכל",  meaning "כל מה דעביד רחמנא לטב עביד," whatever Hashem does is for my benefit".  This is a very powerful Mussar message to learn from Avraham.  How often we take for granted the gift of good health and comfortable home and a table of, Baruch Hashem, plentifulness.  This in fact is the essence of our prayer in the Shemoneh Esrei when we thank Hashem על נפלאותיך וטובותיך שבכל עת ערב ובקר וצהרים, acknowledging the wonders and goodness which He provides on a constant basis.

    With this approach, Rashi's difficult comment on the words "שני חיי שרה" at the beginning of the Parsha (בראשית כ"ג:א) is also better understood.  Rashi writes כלן שוין לתורה, teaching that all of Sarah's years were good.  But how can Rashi say that all of Sarah's years were good? She was barren, she had grief with Hagar and with Yishmael, she had to say that she was Avraham's sister for safety reasons, etc.  Is this what we would call a good and pleasant life?  The answer is again, that her attitude was always that "כל מה דעביד רחמנא לטב עביד" whatever Hashem sends my way must be for the better.

    We must begin to count our many blessings and then we will begin to realize that we are truly blessed.  We are the descendants of our Avos and Imahos and therefore we must never cease to thank Hashem.  We know that Hahsem will never hold back His kindness from us, as we say in Shemonah Esrei,הטוב כי לא כלו רחמיך, והמרחם כי לא תמו חסדיך, מעולם קוינו לך.

"Eliezer's Oath" by Natan Safran

A Set Place For Tefillah by Rabbi Michael Taubes