Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder: ‘We Should Be Grateful For Our Breath’

Voice Notes of Hope is a series of encouraging words from rabbis, just when we need them the most.

It’s a scary time. Many of us are feeling despaired. Many of us are feeling hopeless. And we could all use a boost. So, we asked our favorite rabbis to send us voice notes of hope, reminders that as bad as things feel now, we must not give up. Here’s Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Director of Education for Be’chol Lashon, an organization devoted to promoting diversity in Jewish spaces.

“I have a daily gratitude practice. I’ve had it for years, but in recent times it’s become particularly useful. It’s based on the prayer ‘modah ani lifanecha, ruach chai v’kayam’ – ‘I am grateful to you, source of all, who allows me to breathe.’ That very basic idea that we should be grateful for our breath is key in this moment of so much uncertainty about our health, but I don’t stop there. I use the Modeh Ani to build a list of at least five things for which I’m grateful over the last day.

Often, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel at the beginning. But by the time I’ve finished with those five, I usually find a sixth or seventh. And I learned from Rabbi Kelley Gludt that it’s good to have an accountability partner. So I send my list off to someone else. I’ve both raised my awareness and shared my positivity.

Before my feet have even touched the floor, I’m grounded, and I’m ready to start the day in the most positive frame I can in these difficult times.”

Listen on Instagram, and share, here.

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