Thank You for Everything
Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 )
"You will eat and you will be satisfied, and bless your God for the good Land that He gave you" (Deut. 8:10).
In the blessing after meals, we thank God not only for the food we ate, but also for delivering us from Egypt, for the Promised Land, for His covenant with us, for the Torah, for life and for His kindness.
If someone invited you for a meal, you would undoubtedly thank him. However, would you say, “Thank you for taking me into your house, for giving me a chair and seating me at the table?” Why, when we thank God for the food He has given us, do we enumerate all these other things?
It is because the comparison to being invited to a meal is not accurate. A better comparison is to someone who was stranded in an arid desert and had not had any food for several days. If a truck comes by and picks him up and the driver gives him some food and water, he will thank him profusely not only for the food and water but also for stopping to pick him up and saving his life.
This, says Rabbi Benzion Bruk, is how we should feel toward God. He provides us not only with food, not only with the necessities of life, but also with life itself. We should indeed express our gratitude for all of these.
One of the chassidic masters asks, In as much as we should recite a blessing for everything we enjoy in this world, how do we listen to music or enjoy fine art without a blessing?
He suggests that whereas the Talmud did not prescribe a blessing for everything, it is proper that the first time in a day that we recite the blessing "shehakol nihiyeh bidvoro (Who created everything for His glory)," we should have the intention that we wish this blessing to apply to everything for which no specific blessing was designated.
This is an excellent suggestion. We should not lose sight of the fact that everything we enjoy is a Divine gift.