Once upon a time it was customary, for example, to send a thank you note to someone who had done you a favour. If you were invited out for a meal, on yom-tov or otherwise, you would never omit to send a note the following day.
This changed to the extent that a phone call was considered acceptable, but even that does not seem to happen too often these days.
It is not merely a question of etiquette but of sheer decency. It applies to the blessings we receive from God too.
We are quick to complain when we do not get what we want from the Almighty, but how quick are we to express our appreciation of His blessings? Indeed, not merely for definable blessings but for life itself.
A famous American rabbi, Morris Adler, wrote: “Our tradition ordains a benediction to be recited on awakening in the morning. Each of us throughout his life is daily witness to a miracle of resurrection, as we open our eyes after a night’s sleep. Our bodies are complex and wondrous organisms, which our new man-made machines and laboratories do not begin to rival.
“Each breath we draw is an affirmation of life over death. Our eyes enable us to view the colour and magic of the world about us. Our hands give us a power of manipulation which it took aeons to develop. Our tongues help us to build bridges of communication with others to take us out of the dungeon of loneliness and isolation.
“The mind gives us the indescribably liberating capacities of thought, discernment and understanding which widen the world brought to us by our eyes and ears and extend it into an endless, invisible universe of ideas, concepts, dreams and hopes.
“And a heart invests us with perhaps the greatest freedom of all, the freedom to feel in our own hearts the sorrows and joys of another and the opportunity so to link ourselves in love with another as to experience a fulfilment given to no lesser creature…”
Sukkot teaches us to be grateful for the bounties of a God-given nature. It is a good time to show gratitude to the Creator for the bounties of life and to express our thankfulness in words.
It is also a reminder to say thank you to other people and never to take anything for granted.