Count Your Chickens

Count Your Chickens

By Jo Strausz Rosen

One of my favorite stories is about Sarah, an aging, newly widowed mother, reflecting on her past with her daughter Rachel. Rachel came upon her mother napping with a smile on her face. After Sarah awakened, Rachel asked her what she had been dreaming about.

Sarah told Rachel: “I was counting my chickens.” When Sarah asked her mother why she was dreaming of chickens, Sarah explained: “It occurred to me that I had eaten chicken once or twice a week for so many years. I figured 2 chickens a week, times fifty-two weeks, times my age, 84 years, turns out to be 8,736 chickens.

Sarah tried to visualize what this many chickens looks like. She said to Rachel: “All that innocent life. Was I worth the sacrifice?”

Sarah began to review her past, looking at as many of her important relationships as she could remember, examining her own heart, and her own accomplishments and failures. It took a long time. When she was done, Sarah had realized that, while she was certain that she had disappointed and maybe even hurt people at times during her life, she could not remember deliberately causing pain or harm to anyone or resenting anyone else’s good fortune or hating anyone or taking something that was not hers or even telling a significant lie.  Sarah smiled at her daughter Rachel and said, “I believe I have been worthy of all my chickens, Rachel, and for this I am grateful.”

As we focus on gratitude in our thoughts, we are reminded that life continues to provide some very wonderful moments, even during difficult and challenging times. As we look back, we give thanks for and appreciate those good memories of things we have accomplished, adversities we have overcome, and good things we have done for others. We can count our chickens after they have hatched. And we can share our stories – good and not-so-good – with our loved ones and our friends. All of us at JSL hope you enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving with your loved ones and friends.

Shabbat Shalom.

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