Prayer Skills: 2
One should take account of his soul concerning the greatness of God’s beneficence to him, manifested in the composition of his physical body in the perfection of its form and its specific human kind in the shaping of his limbs. Having been brought forth from his mother’s womb by God’s powers, Blessed be He, and in the fact that before that event and after it, nourishment suitable to him and the measure needed was provided by the grace of God for him. You should also reflect that if at the beginning of his earthly existence he had lacked eyes, hands, or feet and someone who was capable of supplying these organs so that his body should be whole and complete had done so. How much would he be drawn to fulfill the latter’s commands and obligations? How closely would he attach himself to his service? Similarly, a human being should be drawn near to his Blessed Creator who fashioned his body, completed all his limbs, and fit them together. A person has to appreciate all the gifts that God gave him.
The primary place to do this is in prayer. For example, the blessing of Asher Yatzar, the blessing recited after using the toilet. It is an incredible blessing. The next place is in the morning blessings. The first of which is that God gave the heart an understanding to distinguish the difference between day and night. Actually, it is a blessing over years. The following blessings, ‘sight to the blind,’ ‘clothes to the naked,’ and ‘who releases the bound,’ refer to different parts of the body. The third place to appreciate God’s many gifts to us is in the Shema, in the words b’chol m’odecha – you should love God with all your might, or all your possessions. This doesn’t mean to give all your money to God, but rather, to express your love for God with your possessions. For example, if I gave you a tool that would clean your house, clean your clothes, cook your food, and fix everything in your house, and you wouldn’t have to work again, would you be more appreciative of the gift?
If someone showed up at your doorstep one day and said, “Here are keys to a limousine with a full tank of gas and a chauffeur, with a tanker truck behind it. You can have it and the driver for ten years, and you don’t have to pay anything.” Would you want to know who it was? – Of course! Similarly, you have a hand that you use everyday (hopefully for more than ten years). Don’t you want to know who gave it to you?
Let’s say that you had one of the quills that used to sign the Declaration of Independence, or if you had the pen that was used by Rambam to write Mishna Torah, wouldn’t you treat it with great respect? This is what b’chol me’odecha means. You must appreciate that all what you have comes from God.