The grandchild nestled in the crook of his grandfather’s arm and listened attentively to the story, following along by looking at the colorful illustrations.
“As the lion roared, little Yonatan trembled in fear,” Grandpa read aloud. “The little boy raised his hand over his eyes and said ‘Shema Yisrael,’ anticipating the lion’s attack.”
As the child snuggled closer, Grandpa continued. “Suddenly an arrow grazed the lion’s body and the lion ran off into the jungle. Yonatan looked around but didn’t see the archer who’d saved his life. He looked upward and said, ‘Thank You, Hashem, for saving my life.’”
“Did he ever find out who saved him?” the grandson asked.
“No,” said Grandpa. “He was correct, however, in directing his appreciation to Hashem.”
“Read me another story, please,” begged the little boy.
“Let’s save some for tomorrow. Right now, it’s time for dinner. Let’s go see what Grandma cooked!”
Internalizing our appreciation to Hashem for all He does to protect and sustain us is a constant obligation. Our Sages instituted a grand “Thank You” into every prayer that we say all year long. “Modim anachnu lach” is the essence of the “Yehudi” — the one who thanks Hashem. “You’re our salvation from generation to generation. We thank You and declare Your praise, for our lives which are in Your hands…for Your miracles which are with us each day and for Your wonders and acts of goodness which occur at all times…” (Shemoneh Esrei).
Unfortunately, constant repetition numbs our sensitivity to this awesome 2400-year-old “thank you.” In order to fulfill our obligation to thank Hashem, we should always say Modim slowly, pausing between phrases and translating the words as we read. And we should always look for Hashem’s “archers” who protect us from harm daily.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
The key to accepting other people is to realize that everyone is created in the image of the Alm-ghty. Even if someone does something wrong, his essence is precious. Insulting a human being and humiliating him is an affront to the Creator. The more you internalize this awareness, the more careful you will be not to cause pain to the Alm-ghty’s children. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, The Power of Words, p. 27)