What Are You Grateful For?
The Baal Shem Tov taught us that everything a person sees or hears is meant to be a lesson in life. Though Thanksgiving isn't a Jewish holiday, many of us still celebrate it. Why? It’s a narrative about an arduous journey to escape religious persecution for freedom in a new land, the establishment of a democratic charter, and the sense of divine providence that carried those refugees through their plight. It has some similarities to Chanukah. This year Chanukah will begin on Sunday night, November 28th. Chanukah is a narrative about how a minority, committed to their religion, stood up to mighty nation and with the help of G-d prevailed!
The true meaning of Thanksgiving is showing gratitude to G-d, to our families, friends, and communities. Sure, we may have turkey and lots of other food. We may watch football and fall asleep on the couch after the big meal, but we spend it with those that we love.
In Tehillim (Psalms) we say How great are Your works, O LORD,
how very subtle or “profound.” Your designs (Tehillim 92:6)!
מַה־גָּדְל֣וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֣יךָ יְהֹוָ֑ה מְ֝אֹ֗ד עָמְק֥וּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶֽיךָ
We look for every opportunity to show gratitude to G-d. We do it via our Brachot (blessings), and Tefillot (prayers).
Naftali Silbering writes "There is no doubt that this great country’s historically unprecedented success and prosperity is due to the fact that its Founding Fathers recognized that there is a Supreme Being who provides and cares for every creature. They understood that since G-d sustains and gives life to every being, it follows that every being has certain “unalienable rights” upon which no government can impinge." Sadly, this is something that most Americans have forgotten especially given the current climate. G-d gave us freedom and it is worth fighting for. Freedom is constantly under attack and it is up to us to ensure that our children will also have spiritual, economic, and political freedom, no matter what "crisis" the powers that be use as a reason to take freedoms away.
On this Thanksgiving- think about what you are grateful for and share your gratitude with others. Perhaps we could offer this special blessing: Blessed are you God, who has given us the bounty of food and the blessing of family.
May we remember our true purpose here on Earth, may we be given the wisdom to make good choices, show gratitude to G-d, our families, and communities, and may we merit the approach of times of peace and our full redemption.