Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian (1872-1970) is regarded as one of the great teachers of Mussar, a Jewish movement that promotes character development and spiritual growth. Legend has it that while Rabbi Lopian was talking to a student after morning services, he placed his tallis (prayer shawl) on a bench as he folded it. His tallis was quite large and the bench made it easier for him as he did so. When he was done, Rabbi Lopian noticed that the bench was dusty and so he rushed to get a cloth to clean it. The student to whom Rabbi Lopian was speaking realized what was going on and ran to get the cloth for his teacher. “No! No! I must clean it myself, for I must show my gratitude to the bench upon which I folded my tallis,” said Rabbi Lopian.
If Rabbi Lopian rushed to show his gratitude to a bench, how much more so should we rush to express our gratitude to human beings who do the simplest of things for us!
Expressing gratitude is an intrinsic part of the Jewish people or Yehudim in Hebrew. Yehudim comes from the name Yehudah which has at its root the Hebrew word hoda’ah – meaning “expressing gratitude.” Given this, we Yehudim are a people who express our gratitude.
We need to live up to our name! And so as Ramat Shalom’s Radical Kindness Challenge continues, we will focus on genuinely saying “thank you” to at least one person every day this month. Many of you lived up to the “No Whining Wednesday” challenge and shared your experiences with me and in our Facebook group. Now we want to hear your thank you stories! Say “thank you!” Embrace Radical Kindness!