Simple Gratitudes

Simple Gratitudes
with Rivka Gross.
USA. Propertius Press.
2018. Forthcoming.

It’s neither riches nor social status that makes our tenacious hanging on to life worthwhile. Rather, it’s our integration of challenging “sensibilities,” of deep feelings which might be sweet, but which are necessarily sharply disconcerting, that stretches us and that enables us to grasp the best qualities of this world. “Gratitude,” not “entitlement,” remains the proven route, within our mortal existence, to serving The Almighty and to finding joy in our service.

What’s more, it both behooves us to see the entirety of our commonplace experiences as spiritual, and to elevate all off our spiritual happenstances. When we embrace our inspiration from G-d, our inspiration from others, our inspiration from ourselves, our inspiration from life’s joys, and our inspiration from life’s difficulties, we become fulfilled. Everything we encounter, no matter how seemingly taxing, is for our benefit. Our reaching great heights necessitate our grasping that our days and nights must be based on these sources of motivation to action.

Accordingly, Simply Gratitudes exists to broadcast the value of these sources as is articulated in the book’s seventy instances of thanks. This assemblage means to raise our souls and to emphasize the importance of actualizing deeds of loving kindness. After all, no matter the nature of our lived deliberations, we are responsibile not only to continuously push to do our best, but also to welcome all of the events that shape our personal evolutions.

So much work has yet to be completed in our process of releasing personal and social expectations and in replacing those anticipatory notions with simple faith. Simple Gratitudes invites us to live by working for The Boss.

Preface: Neither Riches nor Social Status
1. Inspiration from G-d
1.1 Divine Providence
1.2 Immigration Special
1.3 Effort, not Outcome
1.4 Love, not Fear
1.5 Loud and Soft
1.6 Holiday Joy
1.7 Quietly Now
1.8 More than a White Gown
1.9 Once More Down the Aisle
1.10 The Other Five
1.11 Gefilte Fish and Outreach
1.12 Progress
1.13 About Passover and Giving Thanks
1.14 By the Hands of Heaven (with Rivka Gross)

2. Inspiration from Others
2.1 Small Packages
2.2 Starfighters
2.3 Growing Up
2.4 Relative Riches: Familial Transitions
2.5 Becoming a Participant in National Service (with Rivka Gross)
2.6 Talking Fish, Fidgety Parrots, and the Rest of the Menagerie
2.7 Torah Teachers and Other Treasures
2.8 Educational Assets
2.9 Learning Partners
2.10 “Ephraim” and “Manasseh”
2.11 Supernal Music
2.12 The Death of a Dear Friend (with Rivka Gross)
2.13 Remembering Jeff Zaslow
2.14 Friends

3. Inspiration from Ourselves
3.1 First, be a Person of Integrity and Honor: Derech Eretz Kadma l’Torah
3.2 Concentric Jewish Communities
3.3 Unity
3.4 Pepper and Salt (with Rivka Gross)
3.5 Just Smiling and Nodding (with Rivka Gross)
3.6 The Merits of Counting
3.7 Wardrobe Unsavvy (with Rivka Gross)
3.8 So Much Clap Trap
3.9 Rhetorical Altruism
3.10 A Little Perspective (with Rivka Gross)
3.11 Controlling Attribution of Meaning
3.12 And Then Came Kislev
3.13 Keeping House during a Sudden Illness (with Rivka Gross)
3.14 Looking Forward: Looking Backward

4. Inspiration from Joy
4.1 Seeking an Arranged Marriage: A Limited Time Offer
4.2 Parenting a Daughter Seeking an Arranged Marriage
4.3 Bride and Groom
4.4 Ani L'Dodi v'Dodi Li: I am My Beloved's and My Beloved is Mine
4.5 To the Wedding Canopy without Interference
4.6 Caterpillars to Butterflies
4.7 Passages
4.8 Transitioning
4.9 Her Striped Bathrobe
4.10 Bridal Sabbath
4.11 Wedding Countdown
4.12 The New Normal
4.13 No More Vegetarian Sabbaths
4.14 After the Confetti

5. Inspiration from Difficulties
5.1 As Simple as Holding Open a Door (with Rivka Gross)
5.2 Smoldering Dumpsters and Other “Rhetorical Devices”
5.3 Idiot Drivers and Car Horns (with Rivka Gross)
5.4 A Difficult Confluence of Events
5.5 From under a Rock
5.6 Embracing Alternatives
5.7 Student Loans and Other Absorption Fantasies
5.8 I'm Okay, You're Okay, but Bring OU
5.9 Neither Location nor Worldview
5.10 Little Mosque on the Prairie: An Unfortunate Media Spin
5.11 Blaring among the Mustards
5.12 Something Meaningful in the Violence Here
5.13 Moving Forward
5.14 Gratitude
Acknowledgements
Credits
About the Authors