As I open my refrigerator, each morning (and evening), I should say…
No; that’s not right.
“May your shelves be full each and every day with food, drink, and especially with leftovers…”
I don’t think so.
“As I begin each day, may the abundance and plenty I see in you, dear refrigerator, inspire me to appreciate more, thank more, and approach life differently…”
I’m getting closer…
These thoughts were inspired by Rabbi Naftali (Tully) Besser, the Dean of Students at the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, who has dedicated his life to bringing a love of Torah into the lives of young adults. He has expended extraordinary energy building within them a deep felt and lifelong commitment to hesed (kindness).
Many years ago, Rabbi Besser was scheduled to speak in Young Shaare Zion, which demanded that he walk a long distance. He told me that he didn’t mind this, because it gave him time to gather his thoughts (and what wonderful thoughts they are!.
Standing at the podium, to my amazement, and to the surprise of the scores of men and women in the room, Rabbi Besser spoke about his refrigerator!
He said that each time he opened his refrigerator, he was amazed that it was full – never lacking in what he or his family needed or desired. How appreciative he was for this blessing.
The lesson he wanted to share with us, that morning, was for each of us to open our refrigerator, pause after opening it, and reflect on how blessed we are.
At the time, my sense was that maybe his walk to the synagogue should have been a little longer, or maybe, had he taken an extra walk around the block before coming in, he would have come up with something else for us to consider.
How wrong I was!
These days, I work from home an average of 3 days a week. This means I frequent the refrigerator very often. My guess is I open the refrigerator door more times a day than I used to open it in a week.
With that in mind, and with the perspective that we would all like to grow and become better people, I recommend we incorporate a: “Tefillah B’fnei Hamekarer” or “Refrigerator Prayer.” It might go something like this:
“Blessed are you Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, who has created all of the beings on the earth, and their needs, and provides for their physical sustenance. Blessed are You Who lives forever.”
This tefillah would be said by men, women, and those children who are old enough to understand the concept, each time the refrigerator door is opened.
The purpose of this prayer is to change our perspective from that of entitlement and expectation, to that of awe, recognition, and deep felt appreciation.
The reality is, we don’t create new prayers these days, and the words of my suggested prayer greatly resemble that which we say after eating most foods – Borei Nefashot.
Final Thought: When we complete a non grain based meal, let’s say the Borei Nefashot prayer slowly and carefully; with a full understanding of the words and their meaning.
And when we open the fridge?
Thinking these words every so often might make us– and our children– better people.