Shomer Emunim: Vayeishev: Giving Thanks
Just as we are to give thanks to God even when afflictions come upon us, God save us from them, so, of course, are we to have this awareness and give thanks for each and every kindness that comes to us from God, blessed be He.
The author of Yesod v’Shoresh haAvodah, Rabbi Alexander Ziskind, was especially immersed in this service of God, of constantly giving thanks to God, which is the sign of our awareness of His continuous and full providence over us. This righteous man would give thanks to God for even the smallest things that God did for him. For example, if a glass dropped and did not break, he thanked God for His kindness. If he had pass under an unsteady wall, or did so without realizing it and then saw it, and it did not fall on him, he thanked God for His kindness.
This service of his was indeed great and awesome as attested to by our holy master, the Seer of Lublin, who said that it was revealed to him from heaven that this practice was very precious in the eyes of God. For he would always be aware to have complete faith in God’s divine Providence in all his affairs and doings.
This was also the service of Joseph, as it says, “And his master saw that God was with him (Genesis 39:3).” This is explained in the midrash: “Was then the wicked Potiphar actually able to see God, as it says that ‘he saw that God was with him’? What does it mean when it says that ‘God was with him’? It means that the name of God never left Joseph’s mouth. When he entered his master’s presence to serve him, he whispered a prayer, ‘Master of the World! You are the only One in Whom I put my trust; You are the only One on Whom I rely. Let me find grace and favor in Your eyes, and in the eyes of all who see me, and in the eyes of Potiphar, my master’.”
Joseph would pray to God about everything that he needed, big or small,, and he would give thanks to God for everything that happened, big or small, and the name of God never ceased from his lips, but was continually in his mouth. (Shomer Emunim)
This lesson is especially timely as we approach Hanukkah the holiday of Thanksgiving. We can prepare for the festival by using Joseph’s approach; to have God’s name constantly on our lips, to thank Him for everything in our lives, at every moment.