Monday, May 24, 2010


My family has just celebrated my son's 27th birthday. It was modest and lovely, and satisfied his expectations.Needless to say, we were all grateful. Yet, curiously, I found it difficult to fully enter into the awareness of gratitude. It remained a cerebral consciousness rather than one deeply felt.
I wondered why.
After much thought and contemplation it occurred to me that perhaps our difficulty with feeling grateful has less to do with not having enough and more to do with having too much, and not being able to properly register or spiritually ingest the fullness and totality of all the gifts bestowed upon us.
When a birthday is celebrated we are thankful for the safe arrival of the celebrant to that moment in one's life. If we stop to analyze all the components that enter into that journey of safety and security, we cannot avoid being entirely overwhelmed. Each moment, each encounter, each exposure, each happenstance, the myriad moments of sunshine and rain, of winter and spring, of work and play, of conflict and cooperation, of regression and progress, of slipping and gaining a new foothold, of new insights and ideas, of feeling the unchanging love and support of family and friends. So much-and thus I begin to understand the words of our Sabbath morning prayer- "Could song fill our mouth as water fills the sea
could our lips utter praise as limitless as the sky,
could our eyes match the splendor of the sun
could we run with gentle grace as the swiftest deer...
Never could we fully state our gratitude..."

The spiritual challenge remains, on every birthday and special occasion and in fact on every day of our lives to pause and peer into the mystery and wonder of being alive and allowing our hearts to say thank you.
Thank you for the countless blessings in my son's 27 years of life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It became evident to me this morning that I had omitted another important reason for gratitude associated with the "minyan." Usually, at the conclusion of the service, its members dash away to work or to other required destinations. Occasionally, a few linger.This morning I stayed behind and together with humorous and witty exchanges with some of my "buddies" I asked my professor "Buddy" for some suggestions regarding my work on a Passover Haggadah whose theme is that of gratefulness.In the course of our discussion I grew excited and re-energized: new and creative ideas filled the quiet of the early morning and i realized how grateful I am to have at my fingertips such a wealth of human knowledge, wisdom and creativity. How reassuring it was to know that in the event of some personal or professional challenge or difficulty, the "Minyan'" encompasses resources of such extraordinary value and assistance.
I thank my "buddies" for their interest, their support and their many wonderful suggestions.Indeed, it takes a "minyan" to raise not only a child but an adult as well.
We parted with the Yiddish words echoing in my ears: "a gebensched tog"-have a blessed day.
It certainly started off that way!