As I resume this column after a leave of absence for sinus surgery, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the Almighty for restoring my capacity to breathe through my nose.
The verse in Psalms says, “Every soul (neshama) should praise the Almighty.” The Talmud notes that the word “neshama” shares root letters with the word neshima, which means breath. This, they teach, alludes to the fact that one should thank God for every breath he or she takes.
Breathing is truly an amazing act, one that we often take for granted, along with all other normal bodily functions. To be constantly in touch with the myriad miraculous occurrences that take place constantly in our bodies would be to live in a constant state of ecstasy.
Unfortunately, we get used to even the most amazing occurrences and they lose their effect upon us. Many times, we don’t appreciate the blessings of our lives until they are withheld from us. When that faculty is restored it then becomes easier to praise God for each breath.
Let’s not wait till our gifts are taken away to appreciate that which we have!
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried