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Daily Wisdom 1 Shevat

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

Be thankful for all the goodness

“Hashem said to Moses: Say to Aaron: Take your staff, stretch your hand over the waters of Egypt…and Aaron did as Hashem commanded. He raised the staff and struck the water in the river…” (Exodus 7:19-20).

Rashi explains that it would not have been appropriate for Moshe himself to smite the river because it had saved him when he was placed in it as a baby.

The Talmud (Bava Kama 92b) teaches: Don’t throw stones into the well from which you once drank.

Similarly, it was Aaron who was told to smite the dust of the land with his staff to initiate the third plague of lice (8:12-13). This is because when Moshe killed an Egyptian for smiting a Jewish slave, he hid him in the dust (Exodus 2:12).

The take-home lesson for us all is to cultivate a sense of gratitude for all goodness that we receive in our lives. The river and dust don’t need and can’t appreciate our gratitude – but we need to feel grateful.

Not long ago, I read an obituary about a young Torah scholar who tragically passed away at the age of 20. In his room, they found a number of journals he had been keeping since he turned 15. At the end of each day, he made of list of all the things he was grateful for that he experienced that day, all the people he was grateful to. Developing gratitude is a practice - and true happiness in life is impossible without it. As our sages teach: Who is the wealthy person? The one who is happy with what they have (Ethics of the Fathers, 4:1).

By Rabbi Michael Skobac


Rabbi Michael Skobac had been involved with Jews for Judaism (Canada) since 1989 and currently serves as its Director of Education and Counselling. He is a leading authority on missionaries, cults and issues relating to Jewish continuity and Jewish spirituality. Rabbi Skobac's publications include Missionary Impossible; Counter-Missionary Survival Guide; The DaVinci Code: A Jewish Perspetive; and Intermarriage: Is There Ligth at teh End of the Tunnel? Republished by Angelique Sijbolts with permission for the Noahide Academy.

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Republished by Angelique Sijbolts with permission for the Noahide Academy.

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