A Thanksgiving Prayer

The first words I say in the morning, in accordance with the Jewish tradition, are Modeh Ani, “I thank You.” I walk out of my house and am greeted by the dawn. I step from a house I didn’t build in clothes I did not sew into a day I did not create with a life I was given. Thank you.

With each challenge and difficulty that arises in the day, I try to be mindful that things that seem unbearable now may later be important; I’ve lived long enough to remember how we treasure people and things in retrospect. Even moments we wish would end can leave us with a taste that we savor.

To be grateful is not to be naïve; to be grateful is not to be unable to confront deficiency or injustice or anguish. It is to recognize how abundant are the blessings of this world and how easy to overlook. It is to say, with the poet Yeats, in a moment of open-armed embrace of life: “We must laugh and we must sing,/ We are blest by everything.” Happy Thanksgiving.

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.
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