21 Main Street, Rouxville, Johannesburg, South Africa.

BLOG BY ALICE FRIEDMAN (MD) AS PRINTED IN THE LATEST JEWISH LIFE MAGAZINE – “THE POWER OF GRATITUDE”

SPONSORED FEATURE – THE POWER OF GRATITUDE

It is indeed an honor and privilege to have been awarded the “Sponsored Feature” in this, the 100thAlice Photo Edition of Jewish Life, which has been acclaimed both at home and abroad as an outstanding educational publication. Yad Aharon & Michael salutes the Publisher, Martyn Samuels; the Editor, Robert Sussman (and previously Paula Levin); and the Staff for providing us with a PR vehicle whose value cannot be quantified. Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the universe, so “Thank You” Martyn for your vital role in establishing the unique and thriving rapport between yourself and Yad Aharon & Michael and we look forward to claiming our place in the next 100 editions!  Mazeltov! Mazeltov!

The Talmud recounts a well-known story which illustrates that “we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give”.  A man whose daughter was getting married was warned that she would not survive the end of the day.  Imagine the father’s relief when he saw that she was still alive the following day! Unbeknown to both of them, when she hung up her hat after the wedding, its pin pierced a serpent that would have otherwise bitten and killed her. What had merited this Divine intervention? A poor man had come to the door the previous day and because everyone was so busy with the wedding preparations, they did not have time to attend to him. So the Kallah took the portion that had been intended for her and gave it to him and his obvious gratitude proved that appreciation turns desperation into happiness.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it. I attribute the reason for this story striking a deep cord within me to the community’s phenomenal response towards our Rosh Hashanah Appeal which we launched 5 weeks ago and which will continue until the end of the Chagim. I have always maintained that gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike and your generosity towards our cause proved beyond any doubt that the more grateful we are, the more blessings Hashem sends us to be grateful for.

As I stood at my window witnessing the trucks reversing into our driveway to deliver the orders for our Yom Tov distributions, I was overcome with emotion and awed at the magnitude of the responsibility of leading the largest Jewish Food Fund in Johannesburg (and probably South Africa). I spent many a night searching for sources which would translate the feelings I experience on a daily basis and I couldn’t have hoped for a more succinct description than the one I came across by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: “Thankfulness has an inner connection with humility. It recognizes that what we are and what we have is due to others, above all to Hashem.”

Gratitude is an ongoing and vital component in the holy mitzvah of Chesed and a visit to our Bayit will confirm that “it is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy”.  Lechaim to a wonderful 5777!