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What Are Your Plans for Thanksgiving?

Friday, 18 November, 2011 - 2:42 pm

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Every holiday comes with its own traditions and Thanksgiving is no different. Beyond the turkey, it’s almost become an American custom to volunteer in soup kitchens or to assist those less fortunate than us in some other positive way.

The attitude is; because we recognize the gifts in our life, we are aware of those less fortunate. Which leads us to say, “I am blessed, what can I do to help you?”

Of all the American holidays, Thanksgiving is the one that is most in line with Judaism. But Jewish teachings take the concept of giving thanks one step further - more than expressing thankfulness to G-d for the blessings in our life, we have to connect it with an action.

We see this idea expressed with the mitzvah of bikurim - the obligation (in the times of the Temple in Jerusalem) to bring the first fruit to the Cohen in Jerusalem. A farmer harvesting his crop was obligated not only to thank G-d for the blessing in his life but to demonstrate that feeling by his actions; bringing the first of his fruit to the Cohen.

We thank G-d all the time; we make a blessing before we eat, we make a blessing after we eat; there are blessings said when appreciating nature and even blessings said upon waking up in the morning. But more important than expressing gratitude is the commitment, we must express this gratitude in deed.

Whatever your plans, my blessing to you this Thanksgiving is that you be able to stop and appreciate what is right about your life. And use that gratitude as a stepping stone for positive change.

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