Hashem said to Moshe, “Tell Aharon ‘take your rod and extend your hand over the waters of Egypt'” (Shemos 7:19)
The Torah tell us that the first three of the plagues were initiated by actions of Aharon. Aharon struck his rod against the water to make the blood and frogs appear. Also, he struck the sand to make lice appear. Rashi explains the reason for this. Moshe was saved by the water as a baby. Also, Moshe used the sand to hide the Egyptian taskmaster he killed in last week’s parsha. Therefore, Moshe had Hakaras HaTov, gratitude, for the water and sand. He felt he could not bring about something negative (the plagues) through something he needed to thank. So, Aharon performed the act which started these plagues.
Now think about this. Do we really need to show such care for inanimate objects? Do we really need to show hakaras hatov to water and sand?
I recently read an article about professional sports teams. The article stated that some teams purposely try to lose and train their players to lose. The reason is so they will get a higher draft pick (last place team gets first draft). The article stated that this usually does not work out for the team. The reason is because the players train to lose. The following year when they train to win, their losing ways are already ingrained in them and they need to work twice as hard to remove these losing ways. What a person always does gets ingrained in him.
Moshe had hakaras hatov for the water and sand, not because the water and sand needed it. He did it for himself. This ingrained in him a feeling of hakaras hatov which he would now be able to more easily feel for people. Whatever a person practices becomes his habit. Moshe wanted to practice gratitude so much that he even felt it for inanimate objects.
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