by Reb Gutman Locks & Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
Reb Gutman: Thanksgiving is not a Jewish holiday, but it certainly has Jewish themes. Taking a day off from work, getting together with family and friends, and sitting down to a huge, delicious meal in order to thank G-d for all of the blessings that He has given us….Sure sounds Jewish to me.
Have a wonderful, wonderful, happy Thanksgiving.
Reb Akiva: Being thankful for what one has is right out of Pirke Avos (Mishneh) from thousands of years ago. "Who is rich, he who is happy with what he has." If one enjoys the day focused upon the blessings in one's life, then this American tradition is very positive to one's life.
For others Thanksgiving is about kef - indulgence in pure pleasure. A huge meal of rich foods where one stuffs to the limit. A day of more football games than anyone can watch (though with new split-screen HD TV's one can put up multiple games and try one's best). A wonderful meal with family and friends is nice, stuffing and over indulging is not. Stay focused on the positive possibilities!
And for others Thanksgiving is the start of the U.S. consumer feeding frenzy of the (non-Jewish) holiday season. Whether the stores with the hope of making most of their profits in a short time, or the consumers hoping for either the great deal or the special purchase, it's all about shopping.
Unfortunately in the physical sense, many a household will be spending this U.S. holiday season focused on getting by instead of enjoying the deal of the moment or the prized purchase (prized for a week or so). While the pain of those struggling is very very real, the focus on 'what's important' is the blessing hidden in the situation.
This Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) make sure to focus on thanks. Thank G-d for all the blessings you have, and think of how you can reach out and help those many who are in much more difficult situations this year.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא