13 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pinchas
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The Garden of Ingratitude    

The Garden of Ingratitude

When we expect Hashem to give us what we want, with only our short-sightedness guiding our desires, we are severely disappointed when our demands aren’t met…


I’m so inspired by Rav Arush’s The Garden of Gratitude, that I’ve decided to write my own bestseller, called The Garden of Ingratitude. I’m sure it’ll make millions. My husband wants to claim the copyright to the title, since supposedly he came up with it. I, however, feel that I should own the copyright, since I was the inspiration for him saying it. If it weren’t for my complaining, he would never have thought of such a genius title! I’m thinking about suing him for half of his fortune.


Over the past few weeks, I have been intensely working on perfecting my inborn trait of ingratitude. It hasn’t been easy, I tell you! Do you have any idea how draining it is to complain about so many things, all day long? And on top of that, do you know how hard it is to multitask all of your slave duties while droning on and on with complaints?


Actually, I think you do know. Unfortunately for many of us, the concept of gratitude is a fairly new one, as we weren’t raised with the idea of saying, “Thank you,” for every little thing. When I think about this simple fact, it blows my mind that I never thought to thank Hashem for anything. Just thanking my parents for something was hard enough!


Wouldn’t it be fair to say that much of the suffering we go through in life is a direct result of our warped sense of entitlement?


This sense of entitlement is the root cause of all of our troubles, according to Rav Arush. When we expect Hashem to give us what we want, with only our short-sightedness guiding our desires, we are severely disappointed when our demands aren’t met.  This sense of entitlement leads to arrogance, which leads to a chronically inflamed ego. Think of it as spiritual encephalitis.


What’s the connection between arrogance and spiritual encephalitis? That’s right, class - selfishness! Here’s my medical explanation. Studies have shown that when the ego becomes inflamed, it puts tremendous pressure on the eyes; in particular, the optic nerve. Because the optic nerve is suffocating under the heavy load of the encephalitic ego, vision becomes heavily impaired. In severe cases, vision is completely lost. Thus, the person can no longer see anyone else!


A person who is blind to others is blind to their needs and feelings. He is also blind to their love; their sacrifice; their giving. How much more so when we consider the relationship between such a person and Hashem? If he can’t even see his partner’s love and sharing, how in the world is he supposed to recognize Hashem’s infinite love and kindnesses?


Ingratitude literally blinds a person to all of the good, mercy, love, and kindnesses that Hashem is performing for him every second.


How can we correct this most disgusting trait of ingratitude? Rav Arush nails it: humility! Humility means to give thanks! It means to appreciate everything you receive, no matter what your expectations are! By correcting the curse of ingratitude, we are literally bringing the Redemption closer with every bit of thanks that we give!


Speaking of the Redemption, many people, through their well-meaning intentions, may actually be prolonging their suffering. You see, when a person complains to Hashem about how his life is so hard, he suffers from all sorts of troubles. Do you know what he accomplishes by wishing that Hashem would bring the Moshiach already so his troubles will be over?More harsh judgments!


Of course Hashem is aware of what troubles he’s going through! Hashem is The One Who gave the guy his troubles! Think of when your kid complains to you about what you don’t do for him. In reality, don’t (normal) parents try their hardest to give their children everything, and then some? So if your kid is only whining about what he didn’t get, is it likely that you will want to give him more? Or will you want to teach him a lesson of gratitude so he doesn’t turn into an impossible spoiled brat? If you’re serious about bringing Moshiach, say, “Thank You” to Hashem! For EVERYTHING!!


If you don’t know where to begin, here’s a great exercise: make a list of everything you think is wrong with your life. Put the worst things on the top, and work your way down to minor daily annoyances, like the dog that won’t stop barking at 5:00 a.m. Okay, that’s really not so minor.


Anyhow, make this list, and call it “The List of Ingratitude.” Do you know what to do next? Precisely! Thank Hashem for every single thing on that list! I don’t care if your list is as long as War and Peace!


Here’s the amazing part. If you do this workout every day, not only will your spiritual encephalitis resolve itself without the help of neurotoxic vaccines and poisonous antibiotics, but you will be able to start crossing things off your list! When you reach the point of genuinely feeling grateful for something that you were previously ungrateful for, congratulate yourself on a job well done and cross it off!


p.s. - This trick works wonders in marriages as well! Try it, and I’d love to hear your feedback!



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Feel free to send Racheli your questions, particularly in the areas of marriage, dating, child-rearing and women's role; write her at racheli@breslev.co.il

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racheli5/14/2016 11:56:58 PM
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