As history moves from the age of the Industrial Revolution into the age of technology, the western world has become a service based society. Yet as much as we depend upon the services we receive (someone delivering our groceries, laundering our clothes, preparing our coffee, etc.), the modern age has created a society of individuals, many of whom feel entitled to the services they receive.

In Jewish thought, great weight is placed on the importance of showing gratitude. A beautiful expression of this can be seen after the Israelite artisans brought Moses all of the vessels and pieces of the Tabernacle that they had fashioned: “Moses saw the entire work, and lo! they had done it; as the Lord commanded, so had they done. So Moses blessed them” (Exodus 39:43). Even though Moses had commanded the people to follow God’s specific instructions, he was so grateful for the perfection of their work, that he blessed them.

The word for “thank you” in Hebrew, Todah, shares the same root as the word Hoda’ah, to admit, a term employed in Jewish courts of law. People who make a Hoda’ah admit to the civil claims made against them in the court. The words Todah and Hoda’ah both focus on the importance of acknowledging responsibility for our own actions and for the actions that others do for us.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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