Elevating the Act of Eating, Tu B'Av, and Rain

Avot 3:3

Rashi says that bentching itself elevates the meal, removing it from the category of זבחי מתים. The connection between לחם (bread) and מלחמה (war).

Why, in bentching, do we thank God not only for food but also for Torah, Israel, and Jerusalem? Why do we celebrate on Tu B'Av that bodies from a failed revolt didn't decompose - it's a minor consolation in an otherwise tragic story? Why did Chazal dedicate a bracha in bentching to the miracle of הרוגי ביתר?

Being grateful for even the smallest good.

Delivered at the OU Israel Center, October 22nd, 2018 (13 Marcheshvan 5779)