Thursday, 26 January, 2017 - 11:29 am

Yesterday, January 25th, I had the good fortune to be able to join the WebIXI's NonProfit Advisory Group Happy Hour, honoring Advanced Eye Care as the philanthropic company of the year, James and Sheryl Kohl as Irene Chambers volunteers of the year and United Way for Central Maryland as the Mary Smith non-profit of the year.Those who accepted the awards, Lisa Kale Feulner, James and Sheryl Kohl and Caroline Adolph and Cecilia Helmstetter each spoke for a brief moment. Their thoughts shared a common theme: ‘I am grateful for the blessings in my life that others don't have’. Dr Feulner spoke about how thankful she is for the success that she has been blessed with. She is on the board of the Boys and Girls Club and spoke about changing the world, starting here at home; "changing lives ONE child at a time". Caroline Adolph spoke about how thankful she is to have a roof over her head, a warm blanket, a hot shower and a working warm car - this is after spending Tuesday with Project Homeless Connect, providing much-needed services to the homeless in Harford County. The Kohls spoke about their philosophy that they would rather give than receive and how grateful they are to serve. 

Pharaoh, in the Torah portions of these weeks, has a different philosophy; I am great, I got here myself, I did it on my own and I don't need to share. Moses and Aharon are trying to educate Pharaoh about the need to recognize that Hashem, G-d, grants us material success, health, and happiness. Like we saw with the honorees who recognize that they have received a gift from G-d in order to share it with others. We see this too in America’s Declaration of Independence: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...”

In Judaism there is a tradition that even before we get out of bed we say the "Modeh Ani", we thank G-d that we are alive. We are grateful for what we have, from simply being alive to all the greater blessings. Here is a card for you to print and put by your bedside.

Be grateful and have a great Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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