Hakarat hatov- Learning How to Receive


Hakarat hatov- Learning How to Receive

November 1, 2017
Orit Esther Riter
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The more our souls are revealed to us the more hakarat hatov, appreciation we feel compelled to express. The less we feel our souls presence, the more inclined we are to feel entitled to the many gifts of life.

The person who has a weakened connection to his soul will often shun away from expressing gratitude. He may come up with ways to reduce his need to ask for favors from others thus avoiding his sense of indebtedness. He may also downplay the significance of the kindness extended to him therefore exempting himself from feeling a sense of appreciation. Yet another hidden method that he may implore is to use money to release himself from feeling obliged to the other.

What a shame that we run away from prime opportunities to celebrate the priceless middah, character trait of humility whenever an occasion arises. Conveying gratitude to another and undoubtedly to Hashem moves us to become more caring and less self-centered individuals.

The teaching of ‘Soneh matanot yichyeh (He who spurns gifts will live)” taught in the Gemara Masechet Chullin (44b) causes many to misinterpret the idea of receiving. We certainly should limit our dependence on others and attempt to carry our own weight in order to also strive to be on the ‘giving’ and not ‘receiving’ side of life. However, if Hashem sends us His emissaries to bestow upon us His kindness, we should not refuse their benevolence because we wish to free ourselves of obligation to express gratitude towards them.

We cannot live in this world without a certain amount of dependency on others; this would break down the social fabric and cause intense separation between us. By design Hashem created such a world to develop our ability to appreciate and love one another and Him of course, by uttering the two simple powerful words, “Thank you.”

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