Succot Hallel Paragraph Six
“What can I respond to God for all the good He has given to make me independent?”
There is a difference between one person who receives a favor, and a group that has received a similar blessing or gift: An individual knows that the gifts was specifically for him, and feels a need to acknowledge the gift. However, one who is part of a group will often rely on the others to express gratitude.
This paragraph of Hallel reminds us that although God blesses all of Israel and all of Creation, we are each obligated to acknowledge the blessings as if we were the personal recipients of all of God’s benificence.
This is similar to an idea taight in the Talmud:
He (Ben Zoma) used to say: What does a good guest say? ‘How much trouble my host has taken for me! How much meat he has set before me! How much wine he has set before me! How many cakes he has set before me! And all the trouble he has taken was only for my sake!’
But what does a bad guest say? ‘How much after all has mine host put himself out? I have eaten one piece of bread, I have eaten one slice of meat,I have drunk one cup of wine! All the trouble which my host has taken was only for the sake of his wife and his children!’
What does Scripture say of a good guest? “Remember that you magnify His works, where of men have sung.” (Job XXXVI, 24.) But of a bad guest it is written: “Men do therefore fear Him; [He does not regard any that are too wise of heart]. (Ibid. XXXVII, 24.) (Berachot 58a)