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“Is this how you repay Hashem, O’ vile and unwise nation.” (32:6)

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The Ramban in Parashas Kedoshim (19:2) defines the word kcb as referring to a group or individual whose behavior is vile and shameful. Here, both Rashi and the Ramban understand this vile behavior as a lack of gratitude towards Hashem. Rabeinu Yonah in his commentary on Avos (1:3) writes that hakoras hatov is basic to proper service of Hashem. One should serve Hashem not in order to receive compensation, but rather because of the countless kindnesses which He has bestowed upon him, and because of the greatness of the Master who is fit to be served this way.

Thrice daily in Shemona Esrei we express a general thanks to Hashem: “We shall thank You and relate Your praise – for our lives which are committed to Your power, and for our souls which are entrusted to You, for Your miracles that are with us every day, and for Your wonders and favors of every season, evening, morning and afternoon”.

Often, we take these precious gifts of good health and life for granted, while bemoaning things that are trivial in comparison. For this and other reasons it is proper to visit the sick from time to time. Aside from fulfilling the mitzvah of visiting the sick one comes in contact with people who only yesterday were healthy and are today ill. This serves as a vivid reminder to be grateful to Hashem for the gifts of good health and life.

There are many instances and situations when gratitude to our parents and fellow man are required. This noble attribute of hakaras hatov serves as the primary means for a complete return to Hashem. This trait can inspire us to please Hashem by dedicating our life and our G-d given resources to His service, and to providing for His Torah‘s dissemination.