The seed of my search for gratefulness could be understood as a moment of 'revelation,' of 'grace,' a gift from a mysterious source-God??? On what basis can I make this radical and presumptuous assertion?
Firstly, the experience was so all encompassing, almost pure, that it had to convey a genuineness of the human spirit.
Secondly, while experiences of godly communication are related to with great skepticism by "normative' Judaism, nevertheless, the following excerpt seems to suggest that God may indeed speak to us , especially through the human heart.
The grandson of the Besht, the founder of Hassidism, R. Baruch of Medzibezh, describes the study of Torah in the following way:
“The principle is that everyone has first to hear in his heart…and afterwards to study what the heart is hearing…and this is the meaning of the Torah that is studied for its own sake, to illumine in the Torah what he has heard in his heart…and if he did so, then the Torah will illumine in his soul, and this is the meaning of the dictum ’the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Torah and Israel are one.’”
My quest for the last 5 years has been the study of what my heart heard one misty autumn morning amidst the trees and rolling hills of upstate NY.
The study of Torah is an unfolding of commentary based on the text of that moment of spiritual giftedness. We need not await a heavenly voice- we are surrounded by the gifts of the Ultimate Giver every moment of our lives.
As we anticipate the arrival of Shabbat, which for me is the quintessential DAY OF GRATEFULNESS, my wish is that we all celebrate Shabbat in the recognition of the goodness of life and its myriad gifts.