Thanksgiving: All Day, Every Day

Friday, 26 November, 2010 - 12:14 pm

Last Shabbat, during our Kiddush club discussion, I asked the question "What about Judaism resembles Thanksgiving?." As expected there were many answers comparing Thanksgiving to various holidays like Chanukah, Pesach, Sukkot, as well as traditions like reciting Hallel (psalms of praise). As we explored it further we realized that there is even more. Shabbat in terms of family time, cooking prep and reflecting on life's blessings. Exploring it further, we discovered how prayer and blessings over food is an element of Thanksgiving. Continuing to think about it, Thanksgiving for a Jew is from the moment of waking up in the morning, when we say Modeh Ani (thanking G-d for life), continues throughout the day all the way to the last moment before we go to sleep, when we end our day blessing G-d for sleep and refreshing restfulness.

It then hit me, that in typical American style, we have relegated what ought to be a 24/7/365 state of consciousness, to one day a year we call Thanksgiving. (We have done the same with Mother's Day and Yom Kippur. The only one-day-a-year holiday that seems to have seeped into the rest of the year is SuperBowl Sunday.) As Jews we must know that gratitude and acknowledging all that G-d does for us permeates our lives and our days. We need to take the time to recognize how much or traditon revolves around this idea. As we pop food into our mouths do we mumble the blessing (if even) or do we stop to be conscious of why we must thank G-d. When good things happen to us do we take them for granted or do we thank the Source of all Blessing? Do we only pray when things are rough or do we remember to "report back" when things are looking up?

Judaism is Thanksgiving all day every day! (Minus the food... or, on second thought, maybe not.)

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