In the opening verses of Parashat Vaetchanan, Moshe recalls how after Benei Yisrael’s capture of the Emorite territory east of the Jordan River, he pleaded with God to allow him to join the nation in crossing the river into Eretz Yisrael: “Let me please pass so I can see the good land…”
The Kotzker Rebbe found it significant that Moshe prayed not only to cross into the Land of Israel, but also to “see the good land.” Even when our wishes are granted and we receive great blessing, the Rebbe explained, we do not necessarily appreciate and recognize the goodness and blessing. Moshe therefore prayed not just for the privilege of crossing into Eretz Yisrael, but also for the ability to always “see the good land,” to always recognize and feel grateful for this privilege.
We all enjoy blessings for which we had longed and prayed. Often, however, with the passage of time, we take those blessings for granted, fail to appreciate how significant they are, and find what to complain about instead of feeling grateful and content. The Kotzker Rebbe reminds us to pray not only for what we need and want, but also for the wisdom to appreciate what we have and see it all as “tova,” a manifestation of God’s grace and kindness which ought to bring us the all-too-elusive sense of contentment and joy that we too often lack.
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