What do we do when we get a great gift?
If I am on the ball, I do my best to write a personal and warm thank you note and get it out ASAP.
When we recognize that our lives, our very existence, can be viewed as the ultimate generous and loving gift from the universe to us, then we can also see that Judaism can be the ultimate thank you note.
How do we show our appreciation for life, the universe, and everything?
Throughout the history of Judaism we have offered any number of to-do lists for showing our gratitude – the biggest list being 613 commandments, and a smaller one of the many one-liner summaries of Judaism could be the opening of V’ahavtah: “Love God”.
When we view everything as a gift from creation, then one of the most basic responses can be expressed as love – love and compassion for all of creation as a way of offering gratitude and awe for all things.
The Zohar, one of the central texts of Jewish mysticism imagines God explaining:
“…’Don’t the inhabitants of the world realize that I based the world solely on love? As is written, I said, “The world shall be built on love” (Psalms 89:3). By this the world endures.'” (1:10b)
Daniel Matt, the leading scholar of the Zohar, commented on this quote:
Without deeds of love, the world will collapse.
Let us aim to enter this season of ease with love, compassion, and gratitude for all. Each act of kindness is a thank you note to the universe.