A Recipe for Gratitude
Yael Eckstein | December 6, 2022
“If you bring a grain offering baked in an oven, it is to consist of the finest flour… If your grain offering is prepared on a griddle, it is to be made of the finest flour mixed with oil, and without yeast… If your grain offering is cooked in a pan, it is to be made of the finest flour and some olive oil. — Leviticus 2:4–7
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a renowned Jewish theologian, once said, “It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.” Please enjoy these devotions focused on gratitude during this season when families gather to give thanks.
It has been said that the quality of our gratitude determines the quality of our lives. In other words, the more we express thankfulness, the happier we are and the more we are blessed.
If that’s the case and gratitude is such an important ingredient in our lives, why do so many people leave it out? It’s partially due to the fast pace of our lives today, coupled with all the distractions of our technology. The truth is if we want to have quality gratitude, we have to take the time to cultivate it.
In the Bible, we find a recipe for gratitude — one that helps us see the manifold blessings in our lives, so that, in turn, we may lead more blessed lives.
A Recipe for Gratitude
We read in the Book of Leviticus: “‘If you bring a grain offering baked in an oven, it is to consist of the finest flour… If your grain offering is prepared on a griddle, it is to be made of the finest flour mixed with oil, and without yeast… If your grain offering is cooked in a pan, it is to be made of the finest flour and some olive oil.’”
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with gratitude! In describing the meal offering, the Torah describes three different ways it was prepared: baked in an oven, prepared on a griddle, and cooked in a pan. The Jewish sages explain that these represent three reasons for gratitude.
The offering baked in the oven represents our “daily bread” — the basic necessities for living. The offering prepared on a griddle is associated with a sweet cake and represents the luxuries that sweeten our lives. Finally, the offering made in a pan represents dishes cooked for special occasions — the momentous, joyful occasions in our lives that go beyond our daily needs and gifts.
In mentioning these three types of offerings, Scripture is teaching us that we have to cultivate gratitude in all these areas.
I recently read these statistics: “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep… you are richer than 75 percent of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace… you are among the top eight percent of the world’s wealthy.”
How many luxuries do we have that we so often take for granted? Let us consider all our gifts and say, “Thank you, God!”
Let us always remember to express our gratitude in whatever situation we may find ourselves.