Parshat Tzav: Thanking God

Vayikra 7:11-12 “This is the law of the peace offering…when he is offering it as a thanksgiving.”

Every trouble that the Jewish people experience, from big to small, it’s all connected to the fact that the Shechina, Hashem’s Divine presence, is in exile. Rashi explains that “in all their troubles, God was troubled.”

God feels every single difficulty that a Jew goes through in this lowly world. When we cry, when we hurt, when we suffer, God does too. It’s hard enough to be going through all these difficulties and trials externally. But when we also find ourselves falling into depression and sadness as a result of our experiences, then we disconnect ourselves from God at the spiritual level too – and there is no greater exile than this.

Depression is at the root of every negative trait

That depressed feeling we get when we feel that life is too hard, and that God doesn’t really care about us, and has turned His back on us, God forbid, is at the root of every single negative character trait and unhealthy desire in the world, but particularly the lust for immoral relations and the lust for money.

It’s also the cause of every single misfortune in the world.

So how do we counter this tendency to feel down and depressed, which can so easily tip us into all sorts of negative behaviors and unhealthy thought patterns and lusts?

Writing in Likutey Halachot, Rav Natan tells us: “This is the law of the peace offering…when he is offering it as a thanksgiving.”

Thank Hashem, and you’ll start to feel good

You want to feel true inner peace? You want to feel cared for and connected to Hashem again? Then start thanking Him for all the blessings you have in your life.

In our days, we can no longer bring thanksgiving offerings to the Temple, so instead we need to bring these ‘offerings’ verbally instead. Every day, we can make a list of 3, or 5, or 10, or even 100 ‘offerings’ that we want to thank Hashem for.

“Hey Hashem, thanks for my cosy duvet! Thanks for that great cup of coffee. Thanks that I have a spouse, thanks for my kids. Thanks that my legs work just fine, and that my eyes see things so nicely! Thanks, Hashem!”

No limit to gratitude

There is no limit to how many thanksgiving offerings a person can bring in any given day – and there’s also no limit to how much joy and happiness will start to spread in your heart if you make this a regular practice.

Rav Natan tells us: “Thanking God repairs the corruption from which distress arose, that is the depression, in order that from now on, we should merit to escape all trouble through the force of simcha, being happy, until we rectify everything and attain the infinite light, which is the ultimate purpose of everything.”

So if you want to attain ‘peace’, get into the habit of bringing a few thanksgiving offerings a day.

The more ‘thanks’ you offer up to God, the happier you’ll feel.

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