10 Dec The Story Behind the Thank You Hashem Campaign
HOW DID THE THANK YOU HASHEM CAMPAIGN BEGIN?
‘Thank You Hashem’ is a powerful sound bite. These simple words are a prayer, blessing, appreciation, sanctification, and expression of spiritual intimacy—all in one. Jews from all walks of life utter them in all life circumstances, finding meaning and strength in direct access to Hashem. Thank You Hashem is not a chiddush; it’s not a new thing and it’s certainly not something that I or my friends created. Before my son was born, I went to Tzfat with a couple of friends. We overheard someone say “relax, Thank You Hashem” and it hit us like a speeding train.
At that point in our lives, we were searching for a more meaningful connection. We didn’t have the relationship with Hashem that we so desperately desired. Those words just hit a spot I can’t explain to you. With just 10 minutes until Shabbos, we jumped up and ran to the Mikvah, and had an incredible Shabbos! We started saying “Thank You Hashem” as a “just a saying”, but it became a “thing that means everything to us.” We came back to America and all of our friends started saying “Thank you Hashem.” The night that my son Elimelech was born, we were sitting in the backyard with some friends and we were feeling very thankful towards the almighty. We wrote the hit song “Thank You Hashem.” We released a simple version at Elimelech’s bris with Moishy Storch. A couple of weeks later, Joey Newcomb heard the song and he really liked it. He told me that he was putting out an album and asked if I would mind if he could include our song. I told him it would be my pleasure. Together, we released the song featuring Moshe Stroch and produced by Doni Gross.
Then with what we Jews like to refer to it as Hasgacha Pratis, TYH took on a life of its own.
We then decided to make an Instagram account. I never had Instagram before. I didn’t know anything about it. Within a few months of making it, we had 10,000 followers and the feedback coming in was phenomenal, people from all walks of life began connecting with Hashem! People were really getting connected to it and realized the relationship they could have with Hashem. The more a person realizes every little thing comes from Hashem, the easier it is to feel Hashem loves you! My Rebbe, Rav Klueger, says a person has a Chiyuv every single day to spend 10 seconds repeating “Hashem loves me, Hashem wants me.” A person has to know that Hashem is his everything. We are only able to get that feeling through a relationship with Hashem. The way that relationship is built is through having gratitude. We all need to realize that all the things in our lives, the big things, little things, the things that we perceive as pros, the things that we perceive as cons, are all for the greater good. Now the Ikur Avoida, the ultimate purpose that we’re trying to achieve, is to become the greatest Jews we can be. As individuals we learn Torah, Halacha, ruchnius, not to speak Loshon Hora, davening, etc… but sometimes we don’t focus enough on the relationship that one has to have with Hashem.
Hashem put us in this world and in order for Him to give us more, He wants us to feel a sense of gratitude. He is waiting to hear our praises. Let’s start focusing on the positivity. Yiddishkeit is not all about restrictions. We have to build a relationship with Hashem. Hashem has unconditional love for all his children there is nothing we can do to change that It’s the ultimate relationship anyone can ask for, that loves you, that watches and protects you. It’s a relationship that will never ever stop! I try to compare the relationship with Hashem with the relationship a grandchild has with his Zeide. A father has to punish a child, but a grandfather doesn’t want to do any of these things. The only reason he has to follow certain rules is because then your parents won’t let him see you again. All your grandfather wants to do is what’s good for you. There are times, however, when it seems that a grandfather is doing something that looks like a punishment. Same thing with the Ribono Shel Olam. The Ribono Shel Olam created us with good. He wants us to benefit; all He wants is for us to be successful. But because of the Yetzer Hora and the Yetzer Tov, because of Schar Ve’Onesh, Hashem has to do certain things which appear negative to us.
Our dream has always been to get the message to our Yeshivas. We just officially launched TYH for Yeshivas. We have a program in motion in partnership with the yeshivos to help us foster this core love of Hashem. We already had three or four schools that had a TYHashem day and now there’s a girls school with about 600-700 students partaking in the program. Thank G-d it’s happening and children are connecting. If you are a yeshiva that would like to join, you can reach out to us at Yeshiva@tyhnation.com
The feedback and stories from people is mindblowing. People are really connecting. There are people who aren’t religious and who won’t go anywhere without their “Thank you Hashem” bracelet and now say “Thank you Hashem” at least once a day! They never said it before, but now they like to say it. They feel Him and His “presence.” People are connecting. This is not an idea to replace anything. This is not an idea to say that this is better than anything. This is one thing, just one way, to connect to Hashem. It’s a bunch of balabatim, a bunch of guys, putting in the effort to recognize Hashem and everything He does for us on a daily basis. Our goal is to promote the relationship, for everyone to recognize how much Hashem loves each and every one of us. The more a person has a relationship with Hashem, the happier they’ll be. They’ll be a better parent, a better person, and a better yid.
We see a tremendous amount of Siyata Dishmaya and we just started. We’re going to continue doing more programs and obviously Joey Newcomb is a major component. He’s constantly promoting the song and Boruch Hashem it has over 65,000 views on Youtube. Little kids are singing it all day, and I think we’re really changing the world. I think this is the beginning of the redemption. I truly believe that we’re making a dent and one thing I can tell you for sure, thousands of people are saying “Thank You Hashem” that weren’t saying it before. Our mission is to ignite passion and pride in every Jew worldwide. To remind us all that Hashem exists in every single aspect of life. That He loves each of us in every situation, environment, and spiritual position. And that by saying His name with gratitude, we return His love every day.
Where does the money go from the swag? The money goes towards the upkeep of the mission, so we can keep rolling out new programs and initiatives. We started Thank you Hashem for Shabbos Kodesh which is in a weekly newsletter that focuses on the weeks parsha, with an overview, deep insights, and yurtzeit of the week in addition to Chassidus. It’s a beautiful newsletter that comes out weekly written by Reb Yaakov Klein from Eretz Yisroel. We do a weekly Shabbos Torah video by Rav Yussie Zakutinsky. We started a daily dose of inspiration with Rav Shmuel Reichman and we do daily quotes on Instagram. Money goes towards continuing to make more videos and more programs for schools. We donate a tremendous amount of swag to children who are sick, to Balei Teshuva, to Kiruv programs, and to camps. We did a Tzitzis campaign at Waterbury Yeshiva and we are now doing one in R’ Fisher’s Yeshiva. We make Tzisis and bring the Thank You Hashem logos and custom-made emblems to make our own Tzisis there. Our goal is to continue promoting positivity. Like we say, our goal is to make Hashem’s name great again, again, and again.
Which rabbis do you ask questions to? We are under the Rabbinic guidance of Rabbi Heshy Blumstein of Khal Yismach Moshe in Woodmere.
Who makes up the Thank You Hashem slogans? We do it as a group effort. I started this because I couldn’t understand why there’s so much positivity and all of this Chizuk about how much Hashem loves us in every religion except for ours? By the Christians, they say “Yushka loves you” so how come we don’t stress that in Judaism?
I’m going to tell you an incredible story. A friend of mine came to me and said, “Aryeh, I want you to know something. I’m a pessimist by nature and when you told me about the Thank You Hashem campaign I said, “Oh no- here goes Aryeh with another ridiculous thing, but I kept my mouth shut, I thought it was a dumb idea. Then my kids came home from Yeshiva saying Thank You Hashem, singing the Thank You Hashem song and they wanted the swag so we got them swag, and then they wanted more swag, so we got them more swag. But I still thought you were crazy. Then I went to Eretz Yisroel this past Succos. I am forty years old and I went to the Kotel and wrote a Kvittel to Hashem for the first time!” I said, “Wow! What happened?” He said, “I’ll tell you the truth. The first time I went to Eretz Yisroel, I was a young boy. I sat by the kotel and I was just learning how to write and I didn’t know how to start off my letter. I couldn’t write ‘Dear Hashem.’ It’s not appropriate- He’s Hashem! I can’t say ‘Shalom Aleichem’ because you can’t say hello to Hashem. So I never wrote anything. But this time, because of “your dumb idea” Thank You Hashem, I’m able to have a conversation with Hashem. Can you imagine, at the age of 40, I have finally written a kvittel! So I wrote, ‘Dear Hashem, Thank you for my family and my health and my kids and parnasa. I really need help with ABC. Yours truly, Reuven.’ I needed that Chiddush of being able to just have a conversation with Hashem.” You need that connection to be able to have a conversation with Hashem.
There is no other motive other than to bring positivity and Hakara of Hashem. There’s no money being made and there are no real salaries. We hope our events will turn this into a real organization. We have a lot of help from Dr. Benjy Epstein, Phd out of Eretz Yisroel that works with Camp HASC. He’s very helpful to me. And then there has been a tremendous amount of influencers on Instagram helping us push our campaign; Shimmy Adar, Charline Aminoff, who is a really good friend, Nachy Gordon, and Charlie Harari are people that have been really helpful to us and we thank them and Thank Hashem for putting them in the right place to help us.
In Parshas Vayeitzei, Leah had her 4th son and said “Hapam Odeh Et Hashem.” It seems that Leah was acknowledging that she although she thought she was supposed to have only three children, her cheshbon was wrong and clearly Hashem knew better. The pasuk ends with the fact after that she stopped having children. We can understand this as a Taina on Leah. Only this time you’re going to thank Hashem? What about the first three times? So the pasuk says that’s why she stopped having children. Our Chasidic Masters looks at “Hapam Odeh Et Hashem” as a question, not a statement. “You think I’m only going to thank Hashem now? This one time when the baby is born? I’m going to call him Yehuda because every single time I mention him by name, I’ll be giving gratitude to Hashem.” The Gemara tells us that until Leah came along, no one said thank you to Hashem. You mean to tell me that none of the avot said thank you hashem? That Sarah Imeinu, after all those years of not having a child, didn’t say thank you Hashem? What does the gemara mean? Perhaps it could mean that Leah was the first person to start a “Thank You Hashem” campaign. She called him Yehuda because every time she said his name, she was also thanking Hashem. Thank you Hashem- he’s eating. Thank you Hashem- he’s going to the bathroom. Thank you Hashem- he’s falling. Our avoidah is to be grateful and Leah was the first one to instill that within us.
Is there anything else that you would like to say to Jewish Vues readers? The TYH phenomenon is a runaway success, with participants from the United States, Canada, Israel, Argentina, Mexico, Amsterdam and more. Jews are thirsty to connect to Hashem, and we can’t keep enough branded swag in stock! Our pipeline is flush with exciting projects and initiatives, and we can only do it with your support. Please take the time visit us at TYHNATION.com and follow us on Instagram @tyhashem Wishing all a happy & freilichin Chanukah!