An incredible journey that has led to a global phenomenon.
For me, it all started in 2015 when two realizations hit me simultaneously. First, I realized that without Hashem’s help, I am powerless to do anything. At the same time, I understood that what Hashem wants the most is for us to recognize all the good that he gives us. It was during a slow day in the restaurant, a business I recently bought in as a partner. The restaurant business was not my forte, but after seven years working as a salesman for a popular electronics company, I was told that my commissions would be cut. Although I had been their top salesman, they did not feel it essential enough to persuade me to stay, prompting me to go on my own. The restaurant was an up and coming eatery on a main street in Williamsburg that required better management, so I jumped at the opportunity to buy in.
As I helped build up the business to a profitable venture, I quickly concluded that for the restaurant to be successful, I must have a minimum of $2,500 in the register by 5:00 pm. That day in the summer of 2015, it was 3:00 in the afternoon, and it was a very slow day, I checked the register, and there was a grand total of $247 inside! This was the first time in my life that I had to stop short and internalize the concept that no matter how clever or talented I think I am, there is someone above who controls it all. I went into the back office and raised my hands to the sky and pleaded with Hashem, I know I made a mistake of believing that I can control everything, but I am asking for repentance. I knew that to fall into despair is the worst thing that I can do at that point, so I said to Hashem, please send me a sign that you are listening to me and I promise that I will start to have more of a connection with you. A few minutes later, I received a phone call that would change my life. A medical conference that was supposed to be held the next day needed to place an emergency order because they had one Jewish doctor, and they wanted to entire event to be Kosher just for him. By the time I was done with that order, it was 4:58, and when I checked the register afterward, the total showed $2,500.33! That was my first wake up call to connect with Hashem.
But the journey does not end here.
The second story happened a year later. I had moved to Monsey, and although I still had the restaurant business, I had started another venture with a good friend in Monsey, selling goods online. The operation was a small one but with the potential to become much bigger. One Friday morning, I got a call from a friend that was going through a challenging time and was ready to give everything up. Not being equipped to deal with something like this, I turned to Hashem. I said, I am going to try to help this person, but I need you to put the right words in my mouth and guide my actions. That was an extremely difficult day, but at the end of it, Baruch Hashem, my friend, was settled and ready to continue tackling life.
At that point, I was struggling to grow the Amazon business and never had enough cash flow to take it to the next level. That is when I had an epiphany; I had already made a deal with Hashem once, why not do it again. After the first story, I realized that I need to connect with Hashem, but now I realized that it is time to keep that connection going on a steady basis. I was exhausted from the day’s challenge but decided that precisely this moment is the time to act. I contacted the manufacturer and told him I want to grow my business, and I want them to work something out for me, and I left it at that. After Shabbos and email awaited me with unheard-of terms that allowed me to expand my business exponentially!
This brings us to the current chapter of my journey.
One day my wife had mentioned that one of my children was feeling unwell. When I came home from work, I decided to take him to an urgent care. The whole way I was thinking, thank you, Hashem, that it is not something serious. I had already trained myself to see the good in everything and always connect with Hashem by thanking Hashem. On the way there, I saw a house for sale; I had recently partnered with someone to buy homes in that area and remodel them so that we can resell it at a profit. After the doctor’s appointment, I decided to call the number on a whim. After speaking with the owner for a few minutes, I saw that the selling price was not good enough for us to turn a profit. It was close to Shabbos, so I just said ok we will talk after Shabbos.
On Sunday the seller called back that she wants to meet and show the house, I had told her that I do not think the price will work, but she wanted to meet regardless. After seeing the house, I spoke with my partners and arrived at a number that would be worthwhile to make the deal. But Hashem had made me stubborn that day, and I decided that I will give an incredible lowball offer that was much lower than my partners had agreed on. On Monday morning, I texted my offer to the seller and shut my phone to daven. During davening, I told Hashem, I see that you orchestrate everything to work out in wondrous ways. It was time to take the third step in my commitment to connecting with Hashem. It was time to inspire others to also thank Hashem at every opportunity even when things look difficult. I took upon myself to start creating a Thank Hashem Movement if my lowball offer gets accepted. Low and behold, when I opened my phone after davening the seller had texted me, “although your offer is very low since you inspired me with your constant thanking of God, I will accept your offer”!
Now I had to stick to my word and create a movement.
I started asking people if they would join me in a Whatsapp group to thank Hashem. The first few people I approached thought that I was joking and just rebuffed me. I knew that the Yetzer Hora did not want this to happen, which only redoubled my conviction. I started offering money for people to join, and some of my friends agreed to join the group. In the beginning, people just came on as a joke, and it was a real struggle to stay committed to the cause, but Hashem had kept his part of the bargain, and I needed to keep mine. I kept pushing the groups and posting messages. I was the only one posting at that time, and I had to beg people to post their thanks. It took over three months to fill the first group.
One day, I got a call from someone who was trying to join the group and couldn’t. I did not realize that there are limits to groups, so I could not figure out what was wrong. When I saw that the group reached the limit, and it was time to open a second group, I knew that I finally had something here. The third group opened three weeks later. A day before Yom Kippur, I asked the existing followers to send around a message that it would be appropriate to accept upon themselves to join a positive group in honor of the holy days, two whole groups got filled up within the next 24 hours!
Nowadays, the Thank You Hashem movement consists of close to thirty Whatsapp groups, with more being added almost every day.
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With thanks to Hashem, I have been able to take a personal commitment and turn it into a global phenomenon.
Dear follower, our slogans should help you remember the two most important lessons, the best way to connect with Hashem is to thank Hashem, and every thanks brings on another thanks. When Hashem sees that you recognize his goodness and appreciate it, he seeks to send even more good your way.