After experiencing heart palpitations, Goldberg checks himself in for treatment at a prestigious, state-of-the-art hospital. A few days later he arranges to be transferred to a dingy little hospital a few blocks away. His friend comes to visit him and asks why he decided to downgrade.

“Did you think that the doctors in the other hospital weren’t competent?”

“The doctors,” Goldberg replied, “were absolute geniuses, about the doctors I can’t complain!”

“Maybe it was the nurses. You didn't like their bedside manner?”

“The nurses,” Goldberg responded, “they were angels in human form! Florence Nightingales every one of them! About the nurses I can’t complain!””

“So I guess it was the food? The food wasn't good?”

“The food, it was mannah from heaven, absolutely delicious. About the food I can’t complain!”

“Then Goldberg, why on earth did you move from there to here?!”

“Because here I can complain!”

As much as we recognise the value of gratitude, many of us are more like Goldberg than we’d like to admit. It’s the things that go wrong which stand out while the blessings of life fly under our radar. Thanksgiving is a reminder to feel gratitude to God and to those people who have brought us blessing in our lives. But how do we avoid falling into the same trap as Goldberg?

Here are four Jewish insights to unlock the door to gratitude.

1. Give Thanks for Life Itself

Life itself is a gift which we should never take for granted. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes:

We are here. We might not have been. Somehow, that makes every day a celebration, for at the core of that mystical awareness is the discovery that life itself is the breath of God.

2. Strengthen Your Gratitude Muscle

We are experts at seeing what our partners and friends are doing wrong. What we often ignore are all the good things that others do for us. Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe recommends daily exercise to develop our sense of gratitude for kindnesses others do for us. He proposes that we say thank you three times a day to people who have treated us with kindness.

3. Thank Those Who Had an Influence on Your Life

The Talmud compares teachers to stars. The great Talmudic commentator Maharsha explains that just as stars are always present even when they cannot be seen, a teacher’s influence continues even when a student can no longer see them.

Who are the people who taught you valuable lessons for life? Track them down or send them a note to let them know how much you appreciate their guidance and teaching.

What of other people who impacted on your life? Contact the person who set you up with your spouse, gave you your first job or safely delivered you children and give heartfelt thanks for the impact they had on your life.

4. Keep the Gratitude Flowing

Our matriarch Leah, inspired by gratitude, called her fourth son Judah, meaning "I am grateful." Our Sages explain that Leah was the first person in history to say thank you to God.

It is difficult to believe that none of the great people who lived before Leah ever expressed gratitude to God. How could the Sages make such a claim?

Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz explains that for most people, gratitude is a one-time instance of saying thank you. Leah did something very different. She named her son "I am grateful" so that every time she called his name, she awakened her sense of appreciation. For Leah, gratitude wasn’t just saying thank you, it was retaining the ongoing consciousness of the Source of her life’s blessing.

Don’t let your appreciation of others’ kindness end with the words "thank you". Keep the gratitude flowing and never forget the good done for you by others.

Happy thanksgiving!