The Gemara says in Masechet Shabbat that the holiday of Hanukah was established as days of praise and thanks to Hashem. It is so important for a person to get into the habit of constantly thanking Hashem. Doing so, not only builds our relationship with Him, but also enables us to relieve stress and have a deeper appreciation of what we have in life.
Rabbi Alexander Ziskind, the Yesod v’Shoresh HaAvoda, describes in his diary how he used to thank Hashem for everything that happened to Him, both the good and the bad. He writes that he was privileged to have a private study where he was able to learn and grow in yirat shamayim. Every time he would think about what a gift that was, he would say thank You Hashem with great joy. He would say, “Hashem, I know I’m not worthy of such a chesed from You, but You have given it to me out of pure kindness.” When he would say the beracha of שעשה לי כל צרכי in the morning, he would think about how much he loved that office and how kind Hashem was for giving it to him.
He describes how , when he would leave his house, he would ask Hashem in his own words to protect him from harm. When he arrived at his destination, he would say thank you. Whenever he would receive a letter from one of his children saying hello and everything is okay, he would thank Hashem for the great news that his child is happy. If he would find out that one of his children succeeded in a certain area or was following the ways of the Torah, he would excitedly thank and praise Hashem.
When he would don a nice suit in honor of Shabbat, he would thank Hashem for being able to afford nice clothing. He would then thank Hashem again a few times while he was actually wearing the suit.
He relates that because he prayed a long Amidah, he would usually miss answering the Kedusha in Chazarat HaShatz of Shacharit and Mincha and the Kadish of Arvit. When he was able to answer Kedusha or say Amen to the Kadish, he was so thankful to Hashem for giving him that merit.
Any time he needed something and was able to obtain it without having to borrow from others, he would thank Hashem for being so generous with him. Every little pleasure he had, he would appreciate it and make a special thank you to Hashem for giving it to him.
When things happened that seemed to be bad, he would say, “I know, Hashem, this is from You. You are in control and this is exactly what I need now.” Whether it was an excruciating pain in his body or just forgetting to do something that cost him extra time, he would recognize that it was from Hashem.
If he would have any relief from the pain, he would immediately thank Hashem. If he almost forgot something, or almost had a loss, he would thank Hashem for saving him from a potential problem. He said that he worked on himself to the point that he had full belief that everything that happened to him throughout the day was being caused directly by Hashem. This brought him to a tremendous love for Hashem.
The Shomer Emunim in (Section 1, p. 135) writes that the Chozeh m’Lublin had a revelation from heaven how precious this service of Rabbi Ziskind was to Hashem. This was also the secret of Yosef HaTzaddik’s success in Mitzrayim. He had the שם שמים שגור בפיו .
It says in Tehilim, טוֹב , לְהֹדוֹת לַ ה’ , it is so beautiful to thank Hashem. The more we do it, the closer we will come to Him , and the happier we will be.
- Daily Emunah – Rabbi David Ashear, Lesson #672