Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I had arrived a few minutes early and before the students rushed into the makeshift synagogue room to conduct morning prayers, I began my review of the daily page of Talmud. As I perused the text, I heard footsteps. Looking up, the custodian was making his way toward the school kitchen located alongside the synagogue-lunch room. We exchanged greetings . "Beautiful day, isn't it?" he exclaimed. It was a gorgeous May day, drenched in sunlight, pleasantly cool and comfortable.
I agreed wholeheartedly with his comment. I went back to the Talmud.
" It's a gift!"
I echoed an assent and was struck by the depth of this casual comment.
I closed my eyes and for a few moments focused on the custodian's final words-"It's a gift."
Today, perhaps because of the beautiful weather, was indeed a gift, as each and every day is a gift, whether the sun is shining or not. We were soon to begin our prayers with the opening words of "Modeh Ani"-I am grateful to You, enduring King, for restoring my soul to me in compassion. How else should a human being start her day if not with an acknowledgment of thanks and gratitude?
Can anyone suggest a better way, a more nurturing or constructive way by which to greet the new day?
I can think of nothing else that is more spiritually and emotionally uplifting and loving than this by which to embark on the journey of life for another 24 hours.
"It's a gift" is an insight that is not reserved for the few, those who are intellectually or socially superior to most. Because the source of gratitude is the human heart, it is the gift of every single human spirit. I am indebted to the school custodian for his invaluable lesson for today, a lesson I try to incorporate in my life every day as today.

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