June 14, 2017 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm #1296692
Hi there 🙂
I’m working on a report on the middah of hakaras hatov for a school project, and am using Rabbi Wallerstein’s book on gratitude entitled “Let There Be Rain” quite a bit. In the book, there is the following sentence:
“Our sages make clear that someone who is delinquent in his gratitude toward his fellow man will be equally delinquent in showing proper gratitude to Hashem.”
This sounds so familiar, but I can’t recall exactly where this is said, or who said it. 🙁
Can I have some help? Thanks so much in advance!June 14, 2017 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm #1297049June 15, 2017 2:56 pm at 2:56 pm #1297462
if it isn’t a long report can u post it please? the subject interests meJune 15, 2017 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm #1297493
While I can’t help with your question, I would like to share the following. The passuk in Bereishis Perek Lamed Hay Passuk Ches states: וַתָּמָת דְּבֹרָה מֵינֶקֶת רִבְקָה וַתִּקָּבֵר מִתַּחַת לְבֵית אֵל תַּחַת הָאַלּוֹן וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ אַלּוֹן בָּכוּת:
Why is this mentioned? I heard from Rabbi Benjamin Yudin that this passuk is telling us that Yaakov took care to bury Devora as he had tremendous Hakoras Hatov for all that Devora did for his mother all the years.
it is also written in the biography of R’ Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg that he walked to the cemetery during the levaya of his father-in-law R’ Yaakov Yosef Herman on Shiva Assur B’Tamuz in a scorching hot day. He remarked that this was his way of showing Hakoras Hatov for all that his father-in-law did for him.June 19, 2017 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #1299592
Thank you so much for looking that up, DY!! That was so nice of you. I really appreciate it.
And iacisrmma, thank you for your dvar Torah! 🙂
Oyoy, I feel so cool cuz you want to see the report! 🙂 Hang on a minute and I’ll post it.June 19, 2017 6:08 pm at 6:08 pm #1299594
Here it is! 🙂 Hope you enjoy.
Someone once asked Harav Aharon Feldman, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisrael in Baltimore, which is the most important middah for one to work on. Rav Feldman replied, “Hakaras hatov; from hakaras hatov, one can attain many other good middos.” He explained that this is obvious from the teachings of Chazal and the baalei mussar who placed great emphasis on hakaras hatov, both in our relationship with Hashem and with one another.
When Hashem admonished Adam for eating from the Eitz HaDaas, Adam responded, “The woman whom You gave to be with me – she gave me of the tree and I ate” (Bereishis 3:12). Rashi writes that Adam’s response was an act of kafui tov, ingratitude. His exact lashon is: “כאן כפר בטובה”. In using the word כאן, here, Rashi implies that on another occasion, Adam did in fact demonstrate hakaras hatov. Perhaps Rashi is alluding to the name that Adam conferred upon his mate: “Adam called his wife’s name Chavah, for she was the mother of all living” (Ibid 3:20).
Rav Avraham Pam explains: It is human nature that when someone is wronged by another, he focuses on his hurt and ignores, at least for the moment, the perpetrator’s many qualities. After Adam denied the good that Hashem had done for him in granting him a mate and then being told his punishment for having sinned because of her, one would have expected him to view that mate with disdain.
Adam did not react this way. Instead, he chose to focus on the fact that through his wife, all future generations would come into being. In Rav Pam’s words, “[In naming her ‘Chavah’] Adam consoled and strengthened her, as if to say, ‘Don’t feel so bad about what happened. You made a mistake, but look at the positive side. Your name will be ‘Chavah’ because you will become the mother of all mankind! You will bring life to this world!’”
Adam had learned from his mistake. Now, he acknowledged how wonderful it was to have been granted a wife, and he sought to minimize her shame.
There are many lessons which can be learnt from the above d’var Torah. One is interpersonal – a person must not write off people who make mistakes as entirely bad. Rather, one should make a point to think of all of the good that those people have done, and view them in the context of that.
Another lesson that stands out is that Hashem is responsible for every occurrence in a person’s life – the good, as well as the seemingly bad, and so when a person is faced with challenges that are hard for him to deal with, he must remember: the Hashem that is making me endure these painful life circumstances is the same Hashem that created me, and gave me all the people and things in my life that I love. Therefore, it would be a tremendous lack of hakaras hatov to be angry with Hashem for the things in my life that are hard for me to deal with.
The following story illustrates this point beautifully:
Rav Eliyahu Dovid Rabinowitz, a Rav in Yerushalayim in the 19th century better known as the Aderes, had a daughter that passed away at a very young age. The levaya was called for a specific time, and the Aderes was known to be a punctual person, so everyone made sure to come exactly on time. They were quite surprised when the Aderes arrived at the levaya 2 hours late. When he was asked what had delayed him, the Aderes replied, “I stood next to the aron of my little daughter and I remember how on the day she was born, I made the beracha of Shehechiyanu with intense kavanna. Now I had to make the beracha of baruch dayan ha’emes, and I wanted to make it with the same kavanna as my Shehechiyanu. It took 2 hours until I was able to do that.”
When the sons of Reuven plotted to kill their brother Yosef, it was Reuven who spoke up and convinced them to cast Yosef into a pit instead. According to one opinion in the Midrash, Reuven was motivated by hakaras hatov:
Reuven said to himself: Yosef counted me along with my brothers, and I should not rescue him? I had thought that I had been expelled from the family because of that incident (when I moved my father’s bed to my mother’s tent without his permission) and yet, Yosef counted me along with my brothers in his dream, as it says, “And eleven stars were bowing to me” (Ibid 37:9).
Rav Aharon Kotler explains that the brothers viewed Yosef as a rebel against the monarchy of his brother Yehuda and as such was deserving of death. But Reuven thought differently. He was able to perceive Yosef’s true worth, that his dreams were prophetic and that his intentions were entirely honorable.
If anyone should have hated Yosef it should have been Reuven, whose rights as the firstborn son of Yaakov were transferred to Yosef (Rochel’s firstborn) after Reuven sinned. But Reuven felt indebted to Yosef for viewing him on a par with his righteous brothers despite his having sinned. Hakaras hatov allowed Reuven to see what his brothers could not. They saw Yosef in a superficial way, as someone who sought to dominate them. Reuven saw the utter purity of Yosef’s neshamah, his inner nobility and good intentions.
When we focus on the good that someone has done for us, it allows us to see into that person’s essence, to recognize his inherent qualities and goodness.
The quality of hakaras hatov is intertwined with the quality of ahavas Yisrael, unconditional love of one’s fellow Jew. One who is in the habit of focusing on the good that others do for his sake will also focus on another person’s good qualities and will overlook his faults. In this way, he will come to love his fellow Jew.
Yosef Hatzaddik’s wife, Osnas, bore him two sons after he became viceroy and before his brothers first descended to Mitzrayim, which began the process of reunion with his family. He named his firstborn Menashe, כִּי נַשַּׁנִי אֱלֹהִים אֶת כָּל עֲמָלִי וְאֵת כָּל בֵּית אָבִי.
Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch relates the word נַשַּׁנִי to נושה, creditor, thus interpreting: “[And Yosef named the firstborn Menashe] for Hashem has turned my troubles and my father’s household into my creditors.” Now that Yosef had been taken from the dungeon to rule over all of Mitzrayim, he could clearly perceive that all his suffering, from his abduction by his brothers to his being tested and then thrown into prison because of Potiphar’s wife, was for the good. Thus, he gave his firstborn a name representing his gratitude for the series of events that had brought him to this point.
I have experienced this many times in my life thus far. In retrospect, I realize that many of the occurrences in my life that were difficult and painful to endure, actually led to wonderful things. Hashem plans every part of my life – even my mistakes are no surprise to him. There’s a reason behind every occurrence in my life.
When I think about the above truth, I am filled with hakaras hatov. How fortunate I am to have such clarity!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand related that one day, his wife needed to have a prescription filled, which proved to be no simple task for the pharmacist. After his supplier twice sent the wrong item, the pharmacist called Mrs. Frand and said, “I am going to go to another branch of our chain to see if they have what you need.” Later that day, the pharmacy called to say that the prescription was ready.
Mrs. Frand wanted to thank the man for his efforts but he was not available when she called, so she wrote him a note of thanks. The next time Rabbi Frand went to the pharmacy, the man said, “I got your wife’s note. It’s so nice to get a kind word every once in a while.”
Rabbi Frand concluded:
How did the day go in that pharmacy after he received that note? I’m quite certain that the pharmacist’s employees noticed a change in their boss’s attitude. And those workers went home in a better mood and were nicer to their families, because their boss was nicer to them. Kind words have a ripple effect.
In conclusion, the middah of hakaras hatov is displayed in Tanach by people of tremendous madreiga, like Adam, Reuven, and Yosef Hatzaddik. From this, it is evident that hakaras hatov is a middah that we would all do well to invest great effort in.
Source: “Let There Be Rain” by Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein and Rabbi Shimon FinkelmanJune 19, 2017 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm #1299711
thanks! il try to read it soon, been busyJune 20, 2017 12:26 am at 12:26 am #1299736
You’re welcome.June 20, 2017 11:42 am at 11:42 am #1300073
Oyoy, no pressure to read it. 😉 It’s quite boring.June 20, 2017 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm #1300094
I thought it was great!June 20, 2017 1:04 pm at 1:04 pm #1300114
Terrific piece, Letakein Girl. Keep up the good work.June 20, 2017 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #1300122
Wow! Great stuff, wasnt bored one bit. Helps put things into perspective thanks. Also written very well. (btw it says “Reuven” instead of “Yaakov” once, in case you didnt give it in yet.)June 20, 2017 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #1301043
Aw! Thanks, Syag, DY, and oyoy for your positive feedback. I’m touched 🙂
I handed it in already, oyoy… Ah well 🙂June 20, 2017 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm #1301048
Here’s my bit of hakaras katov-
Thank you letakein for posting your report here!
Nice!June 21, 2017 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #1302049
Thanks, golfer! :)!
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