February 15, 2023 by Lazer Brody
The Torah vehemently condemns the lack of appreciation. How?
Descendants of Israel’s worst enemies – Sisera, Sanherib, Haman, and Nebuzaradan – not only became Jews, but became Torah scholars as well (Gittin 57b). Yet, an Ammonite or Moabite is never accepted for conversion (see Deuteronomy 23:4).
That doesn’t seem fair! The offspring of those who tried to annihilate us are accepted into the fold. Why not the nations of Ammon and Moab? What makes them worse than a Haman, whose descendants converted and learned Torah in Bnai Brak?
Ammon and Moab were the grandsons of Lot. Lot was the nephew of Abraham. Abraham saved Lot’s life when Lot became a prisoner of war. Gentle and peace-seeking, Abraham risked his own life and went to war against King Nimrod’s mighty army to rescue Lot.
One would think that Lot’s offspring, the nations of Ammon and Moab, would appreciate what Abraham did for Lot. Common sense dictates that Ammon and Moab would have some feelings of appreciation and gratitude toward Abraham’s offspring, the Nation of Israel. But that’s not the case. They refused to give their Israelite cousins a morsel of bread or a drop of water when the latter was passing by their borders. Even worse, they hired the wicked Bilaam to curse the Israelites.
We conclude from the Torah’s teaching that nothing is worse than a lack of appreciation. People who lack appreciation are spiritually and emotionally blind. They’re arrogant as well.
Arrogant people lack appreciation because appreciation is obligating. They don’t want to feel obliged to anyone, especially to the Creator.
A person who appreciates life’s myriad of gifts is never bitter. Conversely, bitter people lose sight of life’s gifts. Therefore, they cannot appreciate them. Bitterness and ingratitude cause spiritual blindness. Ingrates cannot see the Almighty because they don’t want to see Him.
People who appreciate their eyesight, their heartbeats and their ability to breathe feel a need to thank the Creator for their eyes, their hearts and their lungs. They go through life with open eyes. Those who appreciate are prone to spirituality and easily learn emuna. Appreciation especially is the prerequisite for developing strong emuna in Hashem’s Divine Direction. People who truly appreciate express their gratitude to the Almighty from morning until night.
Appreciation is life’s most important character trait. Those who appreciate open their eyes to the world around them. They readily express gratitude, for gratitude is the fruit of appreciation. Spiritually-open eyes and expressing gratitude enable an individual to see the Divine Direction in everything.
Appreciation is the master key to not only to connecting with the Creator, but to success in relationships as well. A husband and wife who appreciate one another will dance at their great-grandchildren’s weddings. An employer and employee who appreciate each other will stay together until retirement.
One who appreciates life’s many blessings is always thanking Hashem. As a result, Hashem gives that person more and more reasons to express gratitude. Such an individual merits sublime spiritual vision and is able to see Divine Direction in everything.