Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Celebrating Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving. I cannot tell you how annoying I find it when frum people don't celebrate Thanksgiving "b'sheetah." Grrrr.

My Dad emigrated to this country after leaving the infernos of Europe. He thanked Hashem every day of his life for bringing him to a place where he could wear a yarmulke and keep Shabbos and kashrus and not be persecuted for it. Freedom of religion is something we take for granted when we spend twenty, thirty years in Brooklyn/Lawrence/Monsey/etc.

We live in the most amazing country on Planet Earth. I love Israel, but for a whole different set of reasons. I am a raging Zionist, but I will be the first to admit that the government of the State of Israel is freakin mess. Our government has its issues too, but this country is so blessed by God and the American people are so incredibly fortunate. Let's never lose our awareness of that, and let's take this Thursday to celebrate and say thank you to the Boss. My family used to sing Hatikvah and the National Anthem and Yerushalayim Shel Zahav and America the Beautiful at our family Thanksgiving table. Corny? Yeah, but oh, I gotta tell you, faithful reader, on Thanksgiving, my heart is full.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. May God continue to shine His countenance on all of us. May we always reach up to Him and say thanks. And may the turkey not be dry.

5 comments:

Honestly Frum said...

I blogged about this last year. It is so frustrating how some people (or communites) belittle the traditions of this great country, that they have the honor to live in.

http://honestlyfrum.blogspot.com/2007/11/its-thanksgiving-once-again-and-i-am.html

Anonymous said...

the fact that one doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving Bsheetah does not meant that they are belittling the holiday. Halachic objections to a jew celebrating TG in no way belittles the non jewish holiday.

Just because the country is gr8 to us and we are able to practice our religion and live peacefuly does not mean that we should compromise on halacha. If a community holds that celebrating TG is halachicly suspect then they should not celebrate.

WebGirl said...

Anonymous,

Ok, point well taken. Now what on earth is the halachic problem with Thanksgiving? Or is it just the Chumra Bandwagon a-ridin' through the community?

Anonymous said...

my understanding is that there are those that hold that the original thanksgiving was established to thank the deity they believed in- making it a religions holiday and therefore it is assur for jews to celebrate.
R Moshe Feinstein and other poskim have teshuvahs on the issue so I would suggest that you research the issue before criticizing it as a chumrah bandwagon

WebGirl said...

Ah, but I have researched it.

Rav Moshe, in four separate teshuvas, concluded that it was a secular holiday and it was permitted to celebrate it. See http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/About_Jewish_Holidays/Secular_Holidays/Thanksgiving.htm Rav Hutner assured it, but my presumption is that Rav Moshe is a much more globally accepted posek than Rav Hutner. I don't know, maybe lots of people routinely hold by Rav Hutner as oppposed to Rav Moshe.

Last year's Thanksgiving post is here, btw: http://derechtaken.blogspot.com/2007/11/thanksgivings-coming-up.html

I'm not trying to be mean about "the chumrah bandwagon." But I find so many frum people are misinformed about the nature of the holiday and they don't keep it because they are afraid of what their neighbors or their kids' yeshivas might think, not because of any actual halachic familiarity with the holiday.

At its simplest level, it's about taking another opportunity to say thank you to HaKodesh Baruch Hu. I embrace that.