The definition of insanity: This Shabbat we are hosting 9 people to sleep, 23 people for dinner, 38 people for lunch and then we are leaving at 8am Sunday for the entire summer and have people moving into the apartment. That’s on top of a busy week with work deadlines, school challenges for Caila, public speaking events, busy family stuff, lots of events and celebrations. Plus shopping, cooking, packing and cleaning.
I usually say that my secret to being unstoppable is living a life of Chutzpah, Wisdom and Wine. It’s about living a life without being afraid of taking on challenges, being guided by ancient Torah wisdom while the wine represents the ability to work hard but enjoy life too. It also represents stopping to appreciate one’s blessings in life.
This week, I say the ability to do all this is because I have good kids, a supportive husband and a fantastic cleaning lady - a huge thanks to each of them!
I happened to read something that Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote about gratitude being a fundamental principle in Judaism. He shared the first words we are taught to say each morning, immediately on waking, are Modeh/modah ani, "I give thanks." We thank before we think. Note that the normal word order is inverted: Modeh ani, not ani modeh, so that in Hebrew the "thanks" comes before the "I." Judaism is "gratitude with attitude."
Shabbat is a powerful time when we put off what’s urgent for what’s important. What a perfect opportunity to personally give thanks and appreciation to those in our world.