Although we no longer have the opportunity to bring Korbanos of thanks, we still have other ways to express our gratitude to HaShem.
Nowadays, when someone survives a dangerous situation and wants to thank HaShem, he says a special blessing in the synagogue, called Birchas HaGomel. This prayer is said during the Torah reading, so that the person’s public acknowledgment of HaShem’s miracles will be heard by all.
It’s a short and sweet blessing. Here is what the “survivor” says:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַגּוֹמֵל לְחַיָּבִים טוֹבוֹת, שֶׁגְּמָלַנִי כָּל טוּב
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the World who bestows kindness on those guilty, and who has granted me all kindness.
The listeners answer Amein and respond out loud:
מִי שֶׁגְּמַלְּךָ כָּל טוּב, הוּא יִגְמָלְךָ כָּל טוּב סֶּלָה
May the One who has granted you all good, grant all goodness to you, forever.
Some “survivors” take this a step further and also make a special meal for family and friends, called a Seudos Hadoah – A Festival of Thanksgiving. There are no specific rules for this meal – some make a big feast, inviting the whole community, while others limit it to close friends and relatives.
Either way, you can be sure that there will be plenty of good food, singing and speeches galore.
It’s a perfect time to rejoice and thank HaShem for our countless blessings.