Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hatov Vehameitiv

Shebechal yom vayom hu heitiv hu meitiv hu yeitiv lanu... Ostensibly, it isn’t so! On any given day, He does good for us on that day, for that day. What He did for us yesterday was good for us then. It is not, however, good for us now, today! What is good for us now is what He does for us now. Similarly, what He will do for us tomorrow will be good for us tomorrow. But it seemingly has nothing to do with what is in our interest vis-à-vis today! So, then, why does not the mevareich stop at saying: shebechal yom vayom hu meitiv lanu?

From this we see that it isn’t so. We see that His having done good for us yesterday is in our interest today, and that He will bestow good on us tomorrow affects us today and makes it good for us in the very present. Why so? Because an isolated benefit, as good as it is, pales in comparison with a continuous one. If I receive something as an extemporaneous gift, I may be very pleased and ingratiated to my benefactor. But my worries aren’t over, as I’ve still got the future to think about. When, on the other hand, I receive something that is ongoing, it makes a difference to my exultation and gratitude in the very present. I am secure and provided for! This is the sense by which I am overcome.

But there is also another point. A person doesn’t live just for the present day. To meet his goals, a person needs a whole expanse of time, the greater perhaps the better. Consequently, I am grateful to Him today not only for what He does for me today but, equally, for what He has done for me yesterday and the day before, inasmuch as the past has been crucial to my ability to accomplish what I’m trying to accomplish today. And the sustenance that I will receive tomorrow, and so on, is likewise essential to by ability to bring my accomplishments of today (and yesterday) to fruition in the period lying ahead. Therefore, I’m never just grateful for His beneficence to me today; I’m always grateful to Him for the good He has already bestowed upon me and for what He will bestow upon me going forward. All of this matters to the present, which is importantly continuous with, and linked to, the past and the future.

And it goes even beyond this. On any given day, He does good for us not only for today but, also, for yesterday and tomorrow. By sustaining me today, He makes it so that what I did yesterday will potentially reach fruition, which is a goodness vis-à-vis yesterday. And by the same token, He makes so that it will be good for me tomorrow, whose success depends on what will have foregone today. By sustaining me today, He makes it so that yesterday was good and so that tomorrow will be good, in addition to making today good.

(Of course, in a more literal vein, you could interpret it as saying that, with regard to each and every day, He either did good for us, does good for us, or will do good for us.)

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On each and every day, He did us good, He does unto us good, and He will do for us good. Why so? Isn’t it rather that on each day He does us good: period? That He did us good is something that occurred prior to today; that He will do us good looks to beyond the present day. Does it not? All He does today, though, is what is good for today! On the other hand, it is true today that He did us good yesterday, and that He will do us good tomorrow. But why is this important? The answer is that the good of the present, the past, and the future are inextricably intertwined. Today’s good builds on yesterday’s and supports tomorrow’s. The good that He bestows upon us has a long-term trajectory. Today’s good is but an element of the total good, in which it takes its appropriate place.
Another thing: Apart from the fact that the continuous span of good bestowed upon us is all intra-connected, we want to thank Him each day for all three of what He has done, what He does, and what He will do. We have so much to thank Him for...all the time! 

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With regard to each and every day it is true that He has (previously) done good for us, He does good for us, and He will do good for us. I want to thank Him for all three on each and every day.

Furthermore, they all connect, in a significant way, to what He does for us today. What He did for us yesterday led up to the good He does for us today. And what He will do for us tomorrow flows out from the good HE does for us today. Past and future good meet in the present.

My ability to appreciate the good of the past is heightened by my perception of the good of the present. My appreciation of the present at the same time makes it possible for me to recognize and acknowledge the good that the future holds in store, which will improve on and further my present condition. In each case, one good leads to the next.

The good that He bestows upon us is not discrete. It is continuous and multifariously integrated and interconnected. It forms a seamless web.

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