Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. — Melody Beattie

Observant Jews have a common, repetitive and to some, an irritating habit of mentioning God all the time. We will use the phrase “Thank God,” “Baruch Hashem,” (Blessed is God) or “Beezrat Hashem” (With God’s help), multiple times in the same conversation, and sometimes in the same sentence. The etymology of our name may give a hint as to why.

We are called “Jews” because we are the people who come from “Judah,” or “Yehudah” in Hebrew. Yehuda was the fourth of Jacob’s sons, but more than a millennia later became the dominant tribe of the nation of Israel and all descendants of Israel thereafter became known as “Yehudim” — Jews.

The root of the word “Yehudah” comes from “Todah” which means thanks. The Sfat Emet in 5631 (1870) explains that our name also stems from the fact that we are a people who constantly thank God. Whether the matter is large or small, we realize that all comes from God and we thank Him for it. Hence, we are named the “Yehudim” — the people who thank God.

He continues by stating that understanding and acknowledging that reality, that God is the source of all, especially during difficult times, helps us realize that God is still around and with us, but according to His plan.

Thank God.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ben-Tzion

Dedication

To Max Sapolinski, the new President of the Jewish Community of Uruguay.