How to Thank Hashem by Avraham Bernstein


    In this week's Parsha, a most important example of Hashem's love for Bnai Yisrael is found.  The Posuk states "היום אתם יצאים בחודש האביב,"  informing us that the people were being led out during the springtime (שמות י"ג:ד').  It is somewhat unusual for the Torah to make a point of the particular season in which an event takes place; if the Torah does mention the time of year we were let out of Mitzrayim, there must be a reason for it.

    We learn from this Posuk that Hashem's love for the Jewish people causes Him to provide not only for our basic physical needs, but even for our comfort.  We are told explicitly that we were freed in the spring to show that Hashem intentionally ordained it that way, so we would be able to leave and enjoy the comfort of warmth and protection available when the weather is pleasant, and not during a sandstorm or a very hot or a very cold month.  Of course, the Jews would have gladly left Mitzrayim in any condition; Hashem nevertheless made sure, by being concerned about every last detail, that they would enjoy total comfort when they did.  Perhaps for this reason, the Halacha stresses that Pesach must be in the springtime, and leap years are sometimes added to help guarantee that.  This assures that we will always focus on and be thankful for Hashem's extra measure of kindness in assuring our complete comfort.

    We may also learn from here, however, that Moshe wanted to teach us that when we thank Hashem, we too must pay attention to detail and thank Him in more than a general way.  The sixth Perek of Maseches Berachos deals with the question of which Berachos are recited for which foods; the Berachos are very specific.  Apparently, it is not sufficient to say just "thank you for our food," in a general sense.  Rather, we must be specific in our Berachos, providing the appropriate details, and distinguishing between bread, meat, fruit, cake, or whatever the food is.  The reason for this is that Hashem could have given us just one kind of food, which would have been sufficient to sustain our bodies.  Instead, He gave us many types of food with many flavors, displaying His concern for us and His desire to see to it that things are as pleasant for us as possible.  We thus must acknowledge this kindness by worrying about the details ourselves and thanking Him in a most specific way, showing that we appreciate not only that He provides for us in general, but that He even looks out for our comfort and pleasure, arranging even the minor details properly.  This kind of Hakaras HaTov can elevate us above other people if we recognize and are thankful for everything we are given.


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