Let’s blast it on the loudspeakers!
Parshas Tzav introduces a unique korban: the Todah, an offering of gratitude. A person who survives a dangerous experience brings this korban of thanks (B’rachos 54b), as can anyone who celebrates a joyous occasion, such as marrying off a child (Rabbeinu Bachya, VaYikra 6:2).
Technically, the Korban Todah is classified as a type of Sh’lamim (peace) offering, but with two major distinctions from the rest of its class. Unlike other peace offerings, which can be eaten for two days, the Todah must be fully consumed in a single day. Secondly, in addition to the meat of the animal offered, the Todah is also served with a side of 40 (!) loaves of bread. And yes, all of this food must be eaten by the end of the night.
Why would this korban have an unusually large amount of food with an unusually short amount of time to consume it?
The N’tziv (VaYikra 7:13) explains that, with this extravagant menu and limited timeframe, the Torah is forcing the grateful person to invite many guests to his s’udas hodaah (meal of gratitude). He cannot celebrate his salvation or blessings by himself; he must share his experience and his thankfulness with others. Let people gather around the table and listen as the host shares the kindness and wonders of Hashem and let them see what proper appreciation looks like. The Korban Todah demands a big meal, so there will be a large crowd, so there can be an enormous kiddush Hashem.
We may not have the Korban Todah nowadays, but we still have many opportunities to express gratitude to Hashem every day. By reciting (at least) 100 blessings each day, we have the chance to thank Hashem for everything, from our luxurious steaks to our basic bodily functions. Further, working within the framework that our prayers correspond to the sacrifices of the Temple era, Mizmor L’Sodah (Psalm 100) is included in the weekday Shacharis service as our version of the Korban Todah (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 51:9).
However, as the N’tziv explained, the true todah experience cannot be limited to private expressions of thanks. In addition, we should look for opportunities to publicize our sense of appreciation toward Hashem. This can be something simple, like “Thank You, Hashem!” bumper stickers, or something deeper, such as making an effort to tell others about the positive events of our days – instead of only our complaints or frustrations.
Each day that we recite Mizmor L’Sodah contains a built-in reminder of what it means to truly “offer” thanks to Hashem. Like the Korban Todah, we cannot suffice with a quiet or assumed hakaras ha’tov; the declaration must be loud and clear. In addition to the kiddush Hashem created, positivity is often contagious, as one grateful person can inspire similar thoughtfulness in others.
Whether “Thank You, Hashem!” is exclaimed or sung, the important thing is that we make sure that there are others around to hear it.