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    Years ago, someone
    gave me a Tony
    Robbins cd to listen
    to. I was excited to
    hear what one of the
    most inspirational
    people of modern
    times would have to
    say and how it could change my life for the
    better. He started his talk by saying that he
    has the secret to both happiness and success.
    If you follow his advice and begin each and
    every day of your life exactly as he
    prescribes, he can all but guarantee you will
    find yourself both happier, and achieving
    your goals and dreams.
    I was very eager to hear what his secret is.
    What Tony Robbins said is correct, but for
    me, and for you, and for Jewish 3-year-olds
    around the world, it was nothing new. The
    secret to happiness and to achieving
    success, he said, is to start every day of your
    life by expressing gratitude. As soon as you
    wake up, before doing anything else, say
    thank you. Be grateful and appreciative for
    being alive, having a roof over your head,
    having your health if you are lucky, your
    family, etc.

    He continued that it isn’t enough to think
    appreciatively, but you need to start your
    day by verbalizing and actually saying
    thank you out loud. If you wake up with an
    attitude of gratitude, the rest of your day is
    guaranteed to be successful and happy.
    What Tony Robbins is teaching in the 21st
    century, Judaism has taught since its
    inception thousands of years ago. From an
    early age, we teach our children to wake up
    saying Modeh ani lefanecha, I am grateful
    to you God for the fact that I woke up, that
    I am alive to see another day, for the
    wonderful blessings in my life and for my
    relationship with You. It has been inculcated
    within us from our youth that we don’t
    wake up feeling entitled, deserving and
    demanding. Rather, we wake up with a deep
    and profound sense of gratitude,
    appreciation and thanks.
    In my experience, Tony Robbins is right.
    How we start our day has an incredible
    impact on how the rest of it will go. This
    week we will celebrate Lag B’Omer, the
    33rd day of the Omer. Each day of the Omer
    is characterized by another kabbalistic
    attribute. Lag B’Omer is Hod sh’b’hod, the
    glory of glory, reflecting our appreciation of

    God’s greatness and glory. The Hebrew
    word hod can be understood as coming
    from the same word as hodu, or modeh,
    meaning thanks. Lag B’Omer is a day
    characterized as “thankfulness within
    thankfulness,” or a day to celebrate
    Lag B’Omer is a day characterized as
    “thankfulness within thankfulness,” or a
    day to celebrate gratitude.
    The Chassam Sofer, Rav Moshe Sofer
    says that the miraculous manna that fell
    from Heaven began to descend on Lag
    B’Omer. On the first day, the manna was
    undoubtedly greeted with great enthusiasm
    and appreciation, but as time went on and
    there was an increasing expectation the
    heavenly bread would descend, it became
    much easier to take it for granted and to
    forget to be appreciative for it at all.
    Therefore Lag B’Omer is a time that we
    identify and say thank you for all of the
    blessings that regularly descend into our
    lives, but unfortunately, like the manna, that
    we take for granted.
    It is so easy to fall into a sense of
    entitlement and to forget to be grateful.

    Why should I thank my children’s teachers?
    They’re just doing their job. Why should I
    be so appreciative to the waiter, or the
    custodian, or the stewardess? Isn’t that what
    they are supposed to do? When was the last
    time we said thank you to whomever cleans
    our dirty laundry? Do we express gratitude
    regularly to our spouse who shops, cooks
    dinner, or who worked all day to pay for
    dinner, or in some cases did both?
    As we celebrate Lag B’Omer, let’s not just
    say modeh ani in the morning and then
    quickly transition to feelings of entitlement.
    Let’s remember to say thank you to the
    people who do extraordinary things in our
    lives. But even more importantly, let’s
    especially express gratitude to the people
    who do the ordinary things that make our
    lives so filled with blessing.