When it comes time to initiate certain plagues, Moses passes the stick to his brother to hit the earth and water that trigger each plaque. He refuses to do it himself, in recognition of the assistance the water and earth gave him.
Both saved his life: the Nile River by hiding him in a basket as a baby, and the earth save him later by concealing the Egyptians he beat while saving Jewish slaves.
The Torah explains that he does this because of the concept of Hakarat Hatov: literally, “recognizing the good.” It means to practice gratitude.
Gratitude is such a fundamental concept in our tradition; the word “Yehudi” comes from the root “L’Hodot”: to give thanks.
When we recognize all the assistance and support we receive in our lives, whether it comes from people or inanimate objects- and the whole spectrum in between, we realize that everyone need help sometimes.
Moses saved the Jewish people from slavery, but he was cognizant that he could not do it alone. He said “Todah” and respectfully showed gratitude to even the inanimate objects with humility. He knew his success and his ability to help others was because he accepted help and support when he was in need.
What a powerful lesson: we are not alone.
We are all in this together: people, animals, the organic and inorganic matter…we all need each other.
Everyone needs a hand – and everyone has a hand to give.