My office phone rang and on the other end of the line was the representative of a well-known medical aid fund in Israel. The caller asked me if I knew a certain individual; the name he mentioned was a former student of mine, an earnest and soft-spoken young man who learns Torah with total dedication. I answered that of course I knew him, and asked if something was wrong. The caller said yes – my former student had some strange virus that attacked his liver and virtually destroyed it. He needed a liver transplant that would cost some $330,000. The caller said that the young man had listed me as a reference. The medical aid funds are bombarded with requests, so before they help someone, they want to make sure that the sick person and his family honestly can't afford the needed treatment. After having answered his questions, I asked the aid fund representative if he wouldn't mind answering a few questions for me. He was pleased to oblige. I asked him the respective price tags of other types of transplants – kidney, heart, and lung. He explained that prices differ depending on the surgeon, hospital, locale, and donor availability. But, with the "big four" alone – liver, heart, one kidney and one lung, we had passed the million-dollar mark. If the sick person would need something more from the menu, like a retina transplant or plastic surgery to rebuild a damaged nose or ear, then he'd require heavy cash reserves to cover the mind-boggling bill. "Amazing!" I exclaimed. "Our bodies alone, broken down as parts, are worth well over millions of dollars. And that's without even putting a price tag on their perfect precision fit or the brain that operates them. We're all a bunch of multi-million-dollar people." "Rabbi," remarked the aid-fund rep, "you're right – I never thought of it that way. We're pretty lucky, aren't we?" "You bet! We should all be thanking Hashem from morning till night. What's a breath or a heartbeat worth? What's the price tag on healthy legs that can't be replaced? If I were carrying cash in even a fourth of the sum my body's worth, I'd have to hire an armored car to take me from place to place. People would be calling me Mister Brinks." The aid fund representative laughed, we thanked each other and ended the conversation. If we take a serious look at ourselves, the way we take our blessings for granted is really embarrassing. Every single one of us is a Mister or Miss(es) Brinks – we’re worth so much, we should be transported from place to place in a heavily-guarded armored car. No prosthetic limb can begin to compete with Hashem’s original manufacturer-supplied body parts that He gives us at birth. A sophisticated artificial limb can cost anywhere between $10-35,000, but wears out after three or four years and must be replaced. Anyone who’s not an amputee walks around with the original body part for 90-120 years, and the original works light-years better and is a thousand times more comfortable. Who thanked Hashem for their fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms and legs today? They beat the best prosthetics any day of the week. Ask your dentist how much every tooth implant costs. When we were munching on that yummy piece of toast for breakfast, did we thank Hashem for our teeth? Imagine that you have a Bill Gates-sized bank account. Some terrorists nab you and threaten to gouge out your eyes if you don’t pay ransom. How much would you be willing to pay? One million dollars? Ten million dollars? Do I hear the next higher bid? My goodness, looking at a golden sunset is a rich man’s indulgence! And we can do it! Now that Hashem has entrusted us with all these priceless bodily gems, shouldn’t we be caring for them? Who is inane enough to inhale cigarette smoke and ruin a $400,000 lung? Who is silly enough to take another shot of Scotch and endanger the $330,000 liver? Who’s that clogging the arteries on the way to his $475,000 heart with another portion of greasy junk food? These are questions that Hashem will be asking us. The time has come that we start taking care of ourselves. And the time has come that we start thanking Hashem. Now that you’ve read this, there’s 613 reasons (number of our bodily components, which also corresponds to the number of mitzvoth in the Torah) to be happy as a lark and never to be depressed again in our lives. We wouldn’t like giving someone a multi-million dollar gift and then have them frown back at us. So why do this to Hashem? It’s time to learn how to say “Thank You, Hashem!” Gratitude will change your life dramatically for the better.
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