Expressing appreciation helps cultivate positive feelings and healthy relationships. Hakarat Hatov, the Jewish value of expressing appreciation, is incorporated into our prayer service. The Amidah, the central portion of the service which is offered while standing, includes a prayer called Hoda’ah, which means “gratitude.”
In this week’s Torah portion, Eikev, Moses shares with the Israelites that God is bringing them into “a good land… a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey,” and reminds them that when they have eaten their fill, they ought to “give thanks to the Eternal…” (Deut. 8:7-10). Yes, we ought to thank God for providing us with food (the Rabbi’s use this verse as the basis for Birkat Hamazon, the blessings we offer at the end of a meal), but we also ought to recognize all the blessings that God has made possible. Even our Shehecheyanu prayer is a prayer of gratitude, thanking God for allowing us to reach a particular milestone or season. While examples of thanking God abound, thanking someone in our lives for things they do on our behalf is part of the Jewish value of Hakarat Hatov.
May we be blessed with many opportunities this week to say “thank you.”