Appreciating What You Have

An important part of being content is to stop comparing ourselves to others.

Commentary on Parashat Beha'alotcha, Numbers 8:1 - 12:16

No matter how blessed we may be, it is always easy to see someone who has more, is richer, has achieved a lot, or has something that we want.  In a world where very little is still private, there are TV shows that give tours of people’s huge estates, newspapers and magazines report annual salaries, and various social networking sites give us lengthy lists of others’ accomplishments.  It can be hard to live without looking over one’s shoulder to see who has more than we do. However, it is just as important to look over your other shoulder and see those who have.

In this week’s Torah portion, the Israelites are hungry in the desert for meat and they complain that the manna, which was tasty and sustaining, was not enough. They had to learn to be thankful for what they had.

In this world there will always be those who have more than we do and there will always be those who have less.  The challenge is to be happy with our portion, to be thankful for what we do have. An important part of being content is to stop comparing ourselves to others. This does not mean that we cannot be ambitious or work hard to achieve, but our work must be done thoughtfully and with gratitude for what we already have.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about being thankful for what they have.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

· Do you ever wish for something you don’t have? What is it and why do you want it?

· What are some of the things in your life that you are thankful for?

· How do you show your gratitude?

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.

 

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