Recently at a restaurant, I overheard someone complain that there was nothing to eat, despite the multi-paged menu. I, on the other hand, was grateful to be *at* a restaurant with endless options that I did not have to prepare myself. I was keenly aware that this was a moment of feeling blessed, yet struck by the experience of this patron who complained to her friends about everything. How quickly she's forgotten the restriction of the past two+ years.
In this week’s Torah portion, B’haalot’cha, we read, “Then the Israelites wept and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. Now our gullets are shriveled. There is nothing at all! Nothing but this manna to look to!” (Numbers 11:4-6)
The Israelites had just gained their freedom, but somehow collective amnesia skewed their perspective on what was available to them in this new reality. As we’ve seen, freedom can be a tremendous blessing, but also requires of us to make choices.
Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
On this Shabbat may we find the spaciousness of awareness and gratitude for what we have rather than the feeling of dissatisfaction about what is lacking in our lives. And may we be mindful of the blessings of the freedoms we enjoy because of our conscious choices. Choose gratitude.
Director of Congregational Engagement