Jerusalem Thanksgiving

Jerusalem Thanksgiving

Last night, my head was spinning around so bad I felt, without exaggeration, like I was on a merry-go-round. When I woke up this morning (on the living room sofa, I didn’t want to risk falling over on the way upstairs to my bed) I was no longer on the merry-go-round, but I still felt pretty crummy. Like I was at the tail-end of a stomach virus.

So I took Yoni to gan and sat through Yaakov’s speech therapy appointment
and then, grumbling the whole way, I took Yaakov to gan too. I grumbled something along the lines of: “Nobody appreciates me… Nobody cares that I feel so awful…Nobody, nobody…” as tears fell down my face. I considered sending out some grumbly SMSs right there and then–

And then I remembered that sometimes counting my blessings makes me feel better.

But there’s no way it would work this morning, I thought, since I feel SO awful and SO grumbly and SO tail-end-of -stomach-virus. And truly, nobody appreciates me and truly nobody cares I truly feel so awful. Gratitude only works when, like, the situation isn’t as utterly bleak as mine.

But, on the off chance it would work, I tried it…Ten things I’m thankful for:

“Thank you, Hashem, that have a husband.”
“Thank you, Hashem, that all my children are healthy.”
“Thank you, Hashem, that I have a home.”
“Thank you, Hashem, that I love my new neighborhood.”
“Thank you, Hashem, for those pretty clouds in the sky.”
“Thank you, Hashem, that we have enough food to eat and clean water to drink.”
“Thank you, Hashem, that I found such a great speech therapist for Yaakov. And she’s only a block away.”
“Thank you, Hashem, that you gave us the Torah, full of so many inspiring ideas!”
“Thank you, Hashem, for the new light rail so I can get places so quickly.”
“And thank you, Hashem, for, so I can connect with Jewish mothers around the world–even Australia!”

And while it’s hard to believe (since my situation beforehand had been so absolutely and utterly bleak) from that point onward I felt fine. Even good.

Cured by two 8 AM tylenols and Thanksgiving, Jerusalem-style (which means that instead of eating a Turkey, I stop being one.)


  1. Chana, feel better!
    When an Ima (of small children) is not feeling well it’s different than if any other family member is sick. I also tend to get grumbly when I’m sick and annoyed that my kids don’t realize I need to be off duty. Then I tell myself that the up side is that it’s great my kids want to be near me even when I’m not at my best. And that in addition to taking care of myself physically I also have to create space so that there is less grumbling.

  2. Very nice as usual!

    Chana Jenny – sounds like you suffered from a vertigo episode. if that is the case I recommend you see the attached 3 min. video
    It helped me a lot – I assume it could help others as well

  3. Here’s what I love about you C.J.
    You’re so real and honest. Most women work hard to create a facade that all is well. This leaves many people feeling like they’re the only ones struggling with….(fill in the blank).
    Your blog validates us as we travel this journey of life together.
    Refuah sheleimah!

  4. the other day all my original plans had fallen through and i found myself facing a choice: either i sit around feeling sorry for myself, or get up and create an adventure.

    i decided on the adventure option, and toddled off to the subway. I had packed my tehillim, a good book, and my MP3player…. I got on the subway towards Manhattan, with only a vague notion of where i would go. I took a seat and read my quotient of tehillim for the day. when i put the tehillim down, i looked at my watch and decided to devote the next half hour of my ride to saying Thanks.

    By the time i arrived in Midtown Manhattan, i left the subway as if i were a different person. i wandered in my favorite district for two hours, stopped in a kosher place and had a lovely lunch, and then headed home.

    walking home from the subway, i noticed the changing colors of the leaves, i enjoyed the brisk breeze, and admired the colors and patterns of the bricks on the buildings…..

    spending a few minutes devoted to gratitude seems to change the way our brains process what we see and how we perceive…

    • Tamar,Your story was such a profound story! You wrote it so well. I believed every word, I felt how you felt, and I celebrated your amazing endng. I was inspired. I hope you continue to inspire yourself and everyone you encounter…and, I hope you write us some more of your stories!

    • wow, I love this story, tamar!

  5. Thank you Chana Jenny – Your honesty teaches us so much about facing challenges head-on. Although you were in a terrible state, you were in touch enough with yourself to find a wonderful strategy to rise above it. Very transformative, kol hakavod.I hope to do as well maintaining rationality during high stress! I second all your thank-you’s, and of course we all have our own. I always tried to think of a Thanksgiving thank-you that was a little more light though true. My favorite: I am thankful for Control-Z. (writers would relate!) Happy Shabbos, our weekly Thanksgiving.

    • sorry, what’s control Z?

      • Oops, LOL,I took for granted everybody knows, because I tend to be the last person to find out about the new stuff. To me, it’s the best thing that ever happened to Microsoft Word. It’s what you press to retrieve something you deleted accidentally (like the old “undo” button). I tend to need it a lot, because I am a sloppy keyboarder. I can think I just highlighted a single word I wanted to replace, and suddenly an entire paragraph disappeared. That can be one of the biggest nightmares in the world of word processing. Control-Z, and voila! It’s back. You can go back as many steps as you need if you realize things went wrong a few corrections ago, as well. Or if you change your mind about a big cut n’ paste you did to switch things around, you can usually use it to get back the way things were. Control-Z is a lifesaver. Try it!

        • cool, thanks!

        • Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a Control-Z button in our lives,too? I would use it to reinstate friendships that have gone sour, to recapture the simple joys of simpler times, and to undo the unnecessary words and deeds that I now regret.

      • the shortcut I wish we all had in life… Undo!

  6. Yes Minna!!!!!
    But at the same time, our great gedolim and spiritual leaders have taught us to always go forward. Getting our hearts mired in the past – depending on the possibilities of teshuva – can be the yetzer hara too.

  7. Rabbanit Yemima learned from Rabbanit Kook that if you are in a bad state or need to daven for something you should preface your tefillot with at least 10 thank yous and then there is a different perspective to your tefilla. When I need to daven for something serious I start with the thank yous and I feel the situation widen and broaden. That is, it’s not just that constricted, anxious/sad place but rather among all the good things there is also a difficult piece. As I say thank you I look for that place in which I can present the problem by saying “and” instead of “but” because once you present the difficulty as something separate from the bigger picture you’ve once more isolated it and lost the bigger picture.

  8. Thank you Chana Jenny- just what I needed to read this morning!I’m just one of those moms in Australia who gain so much from your beautiful writing!

  9. I love the last line of your story Jenny.!
    And Debbie the Chazal put Pesukei Dezimra first in the davening- if we pay attention it is a major gratitude listing… but mentioning our own is so meaningful. Keep on inspiring us and feel better.
    I am sure your whole family would rally around to help out should you be Chas v’sholom incapacitated – it is only a yetzer hora talking that says no one cares. 😘

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