| Parshah |

For the Many Miracles

A person must recognize Hashem’s involvement in his daily life, not only when extraordinary events occur


“And she gave birth to a son, and she said: ‘This time I will give thanks to Hashem.’ Therefore she called his name Yehudah….” (Bereishis 29:35)


The Gemara in Berachos (7b) tells us: “Until Leah, no one had come and offered thanks to Hashem.” The Ksav Sofer points out that this statement seems surprising, for we know that the Avos indeed offered thanks to Hashem. So why was Leah considered the first? (Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand)

It was one of those days. Shloimie woke up at the crack of dawn and was beyond cranky by the time he came home from school. Yitzi was just getting over the flu and was bored and antsy. I was babysitting a grandchild while my daughter was at work because her babysitter had canceled yet again. And none of the kids wanted the fleishig supper I’d prepared, so I threw up my hands and stuck frozen pizza into the toaster oven.

By the time Shloimie’s bedtime came around, I was dreaming of bed myself.

And then the phone rang.

Apparently, though, Leah was indeed unique. Although Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov had expressed thanks to Hashem, they did so only in response to miracles that Hashem performed on their behalf. We do not find their expressions of appreciation being offered for daily and routine events in their lives. Nevertheless, it is absolutely appropriate to thank Hashem for everything. Dovid Hamelech says in Tehillim (150:6): “Every soul [neshamah] will praise Hashem.”
The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 14:9) elaborates and teaches us that the word neshamah shares a root with neshimah (breath); one should praise Hashem for every breath he takes.
If a person is only moved to thank Hashem for miraculous salvations, he has missed the opportunity to communicate with Hashem even when things are normal and routine. This is tragic. A person must recognize Hashem’s involvement in his daily life, not only when extraordinary events occur.

“Ma, I think it’s time,” came my daughter’s voice.

Gone went my dream of an early night. I rushed to the hospital, ready to fill my role as layman labor coach / moral support mommy. And it looked like it would be an all-nighter.

As the sun was peeking its way into a bright new dawn, I held my new grandchild in my arms, the tears streaming unheeded down my cheeks. Nothing, no, nothing could compare with this tiny miracle and the absolute deluge of hakaras hatov I felt toward Hashem for allowing me the zechus to be part of this.

As I left baby and mother in bonding bliss, I floated home, barely aware of my exhaustion and gritty eyes.

Our matriarch Leah set the path for us in this area. She demonstrated that a person must express his acknowledgment of Hashem even for the blessings that are bestowed on us in a routine manner. With the birth of her fourth son, she expressed her gratitude, and our Sages have praised her for this lesson.

I arrived at home just in time to get the kids out to school. Yet today was not yesterday. With the added insight, having experienced an early-morning miracle, I practically danced my way through the daily routine.

Shloimie’s insistence on his black socks, not the gray ones, was met with gracious compliance on my part. Yitzi’s sudden recollection of his need for an absence note, even as he was running late for the bus, simply had me smiling and offering him an extra kiss in parting.

Eventually, they all left, and I was alone with the remains of breakfast bedlam and the daily chores. I collapsed on the couch and inhaled my coffee. Yet despite the crazy morning rush, I felt calm and content.

I’d experienced such open Yad Hashem at daybreak. But it was no greater than the revelations I merit to experience over the course of every average day. Thank You, Hashem, for the many miracles of the mundane.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 820)

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