The gemara in Berachos 7b says that Leah Imenu was the first person who ever thanked Hashem:

ואמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי מיום שברא הקדוש ברוך הוא את עולמו לא היה אדם שהודה להקדוש ברוך הוא עד שבאתה לאה והודתו שנאמר הפעם אודה את ה׳

And Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai: From the day the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world, no one thanked the Holy One, Blessed be He, until Leah came and thanked Him, as it is stated: ‘This time I will give thanks to God’ (Genesis 29:35)

Besides being motzi la'az on previous generations, it's almost inconceivable that not one person-- none of the Avos, Sarah, Rivka, Noach, Adam HaRishon etc-- thanked Hashem prior to this.

What was so unique about Leah's gratitude that the gemara would say she was the first person who ever thanked Hashem?

(are there any Rishonim etc who address this?)

  • 2
    the Steinzaltz indicates it was about specific language לא היה אדם שהודה להקדוש ברוך הוא בלשון זו של הכרת טובה ותודה where as others (if I understand them) seem to say that thanking for a different reason (forgiveness from sin) wasn't included here -- this was about thanking for this reason (a personal favor/gift).
    – rosends
    May 8, 2019 at 10:36
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    to wit: Eliezer said "וָאֶקֹּד וָאֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַיהוָה וָאֲבָרֵךְ אֶת־ה אֱלֹקי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם", Malkitzedek said "וּבָרוּךְ אֵל עֶלְיוֹן אֲשֶׁר־מִגֵּן צָרֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ וַיִּתֶּן־לוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר מִכֹּל׃ " and more.
    – Al Berko
    May 8, 2019 at 11:51
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1 Answer 1


It is not a Rishon, but the Ksav Sofer (2nd paragraph) brings this question.

As you mention, on the surface this is hard to understand, especially since there were a number of righteous people that had lived virtuous lives and openly demonstrated their thanks (e.g. we see by the avos that they brought numerous korbanos to say thank you)?!

Yet, the Ksav Sofer points out that whilst they too thanked Hashem, their thanks was for open miracles. Leah was the first person to show gratitude over a ‘natural’ experience – i.e. the act of having four children. Therefore, Leah introduced us to the fact that one must give thanks even for the everyday things that go on around us and this is how we are to understand the Gemara in brachos.

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