When one survives a life-threatening situation, he or she naturally feels a tremendous amount of gratitude to Hashem. Therefore, the Torah commands such a person to offer a thanksgiving-offering to the Lord. The Talmud (Berachot 54b) lists the four dangerous situations whose survivors are required to bring this offering: a potentially dangerous journey, dangerous imprisonment, serious illness and a sea voyage. In the absence of the Beit Hamikdash and the thanksgiving offering, the Jewish people have a special blessing, called the gomel blessing, recited to express thanks to Hashem when one overcomes a life-threatening situation. This idea of thanksgiving and being grateful is ingrained in the DNA of the Nation of Israel. In fact, the term yehudi (יהודי), ‘Jew,’ comes from the name of the tribe of Yehuda, which derives from the word hoda’ah (הודאה), ‘thanksgiving.’

Source: Israel in the News