Posted by: Rabbi Cecelia Beyer on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Could song fill our mouth as water fills the sea
And could joy flood our tongue like countless waves
Could our lips utter praise as limitless as the sky
And could our eyes match the splendor of the sun
Could we soar with arms like an eagle’s wings
And run with gentle grace as the swiftest deer
Never could we fully state our gratitude to you
Our God and the God of our ancestors.
-from Nishmat Kol Hai, Shabbat morning service
I have always been a fan of having an “attitude of gratitude,” and recently have been working very hard to cultivate it. It isn’t always easy to stay in that attitude, but I do try. Our liturgy has a lot of “thank you” moments in it too, so I’ve been concentrating on these moments, like the one above, in my personal prayer. In the Babylonian Talmud, in Tractate Berakhot (Blessings), Rabbi Hanina bar Papa says “Anyone who enjoys anything from this world without a blessing, it is as if they have stolen from God and the community of Israel.”
Indeed, I have many blessings, and to let them go unacknowledged would both undermine my “attitude of gratitude” and apparently, be an act of theft, at least to Rabbi Hanina bar Papa. It is in this vein that I wish to extend my thanks to my beloved congregation and community: so many of you have been reaching out to me, to ask how you can help me during the time that Rabbi Mallach is out. I am so moved by the kindness, the offers to help – from leading prayers and giving sermons, to visiting home-bound folks and running religious school errands. There is just so much in the spirit of giving, that never mind maintaining an attitude of gratitude - I am positively bursting with it.
And so, I want to say thank you for rallying behind both Rabbi Mallach and me during this time. We are both so grateful to find ourselves in this sacred community together with you. And remember, I am here to help you. This may be a busy and challenging time for your rabbis, but we remain your rabbis and care deeply for you and your needs.
I may be busy, but I remain, as always, here for you. So I say thank you, from the deepest part of my heart. Truly. It is such a blessing just to receive your thoughts and kindnesses. And I am here for you as well. As we walk with Rabbi Mallach, we walk together. I could not think of a better community with which to share the journey.
Rabbi Cecelia Beyer