In Parashat Eikev, Moses continues his farewell address to the Israelites. Moses reminds the Israelites that they are going to enter the Land as a part of the brit, the covenant, shared with Abraham and their ancestors. The commandments regarding prayer and the Birkat Hamazon, the Grace After Meals, are also addressed.
In Deuteronomy 8:10 we read, “And you shall eat and be satisfied, and bless the Lord your God for the good land which [God] has given you.” While the focus of this verse from the Birkat Hamazon is on thanking God for our nourishment, the practice of pausing to reflect after each meal can also create a greater sense of awareness and gratitude for other blessings in our lives.
Students on campus have a tremendous amount going on: they juggle their academic work, jobs, volunteer opportunities, family and friends, and so much more. Whether on the go between classes or while seated together around the Shabbat table, when we invite our students to take a moment to share gratitude for the food they have eaten and we draw the connection to the importance of being aware of the blessings in our lives, we have the opportunity to instill a practice of mindfulness and gratitude in the lives of our students. This practice can benefit our students not only as they navigate challenges or stresses during college, but also as they continue on their journey beyond college.
When we are able to become more mindful, present to ourselves and to the world around us, this shift in perspective allows us to flow more easily through the ups and downs of our daily lives.
Rabbi Aderet Drucker is the campus rabbi & director of Jewish life and learning at Maryland Hillel.