A Time For Hakoras Hatov

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It is so easy to take things for granted. Often people have a sense of entitlement that prevents them from appreciating what others do for them especially when the other person is someone they interact with frequently. People don’t feel the need to thank someone else for their time and effort to provide them with their financial or emotional support.  We all get so caught up in our own hustle-bustle lives that we don’t take the time to “smell the roses” and appreciate our blessings and increase our opportunities for gratitude.

In Jewish tradition, one of the most important concepts and values  is HaKoras Ha Tov which makes our character and behavior a cut above the other ethnic groups of the world. That is the attribute that we are most admired for .HaKoras Ha Tov has been translated as gratitude; but it really means to recognize and familiarize oneself with goodness.

My nephew Rabbi Ben-Tzion Shafier (I’m naming dropping) wrote “HaKoras Ha Tov is often translated as gratitude, but that really doesn’t do the concept justice. HaKoras Ha Tov means “acknowledging the good” recognizing that someone has benefited me in some way”. The obligation of HaKoras Ha Tov is not merely to remember to say thank you, but to recognize the benefit that one has received from another.

Conversely, the Midrash equates the sin of ingratitude with denial of the Almighty. If one who is ungrateful towards his fellow man, then he will ultimately be ungrateful towards      G-d, as well. The trouble is that usually we don’t recognize the gifts we’ve received. Most of the time we just take them for granted.”   Translated it means that if  one who doesn’t properly appreciate, his parents  his spouse, his boss, his friends, and his neighbor will eventually come to deny the favors of the Almighty.

We take for granted those things that are most important to us-our health, our family, our economic prosperity, our ability to find meaning in life that is until of course we lose them. Most of us learn the hard way. Only when we suffer the loss do we realize how good we really had it.  

Rosh Hashanah is the ideal time to reflect on our actions through the past year and to realize that we have been short-sighted and remiss in expressing our appreciation to those who have helped us and to Hashem for his many blessings.

Individuals aren’t the only ones that deserve our gratitude. Organizations, like the Queens Jewish Community Council, do as well.  As I have written recently with regards to the celebration of our 50th anniversary of providing service to Queens Jewry, tens of thousands of people have been helped by QJCC. Only a handful has ever taken the time to
thank us.

There is an assumption that QJCC will respond to the need any way, so who has to worry or care about their welfare. There is a tendency to be involved with other newer entities and let us “blow in the wind”.  Many of the others don’t do nearly as much social service and community involvement as we do for the people; but the perception is that we will always be around and so don’t need  HaKoras Ha-Tov from the community.

From my perspective, that perception is most unfortunate. Only with Hashem’s good graces and the support of our local elected officials can we sustain the enormous cost of providing social service to the 15,000 clients that we attend to each year. I appeal to the esteemed rabbis of our community to draw attention the work that we do for their constituents especially and for the klal in general.

QJCC is gladly available to assist where we can, but HaKoras Ha Tov from the community would help keep us going.

May I take this opportunity to thank the readers of the Queens Jewish Link and the Bukharian Jewish Link for their support and good wishes? It is greatly appreciated.

On behalf of my family and myself, may I wish you all a kiseevah v’chateeman tovah.

A happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful new year.

By Cynthia Zalisky

Cynthia Zalisky is the Executive Director of the Queens Jewish Community Council. She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.