Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Every year at this time, debates take place in the American "frum" community as to whether, and to what extent, the holiday of Thanksgiving should be acknowledged. I'm proud to say that my family does celebrate this holiday, at least as far as the following "big three" rituals are concerned:
  • Having a big dinner with turkey as the main course
  • Listening to "Alice's Restaurant" on the radio
  • Rooting for the Dallas Cowboys to lose
In all seriousness, I view Thanksgiving as an American, not a Christian, holiday, no less worthy of observance than 4th of July or Mother's Day. Nevertheless, the latter seem to be much more widely accepted in the frum community, as I recently observed.

As a religious Jew who celebrates Thanksgiving, I am in reasonably good company, including, famously, Rav Soloveichik. I do respect those American Jews who, in choosing not observe this day, are simply following the views of their own poskim. However, those whose rejection of Thanksgiving really reflects an overall lack of hakaros hatov [gratitude] to this country, have nothing but my contempt and pity.

For those interested in the halachik debate on Thanksgiving, see this link to an excellent analysis published years ago by Rabbi Michael Broyde. The article includes a description (see footnote #38) of the famous erev-Thanksgiving incident in Rav Soloveichik's shiur which I alluded to above.

To all my US readers, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, and may you and yours always have both cause and capacity to give thanks, on this holiday and every day.

Coming tomorrow, if I have the time and the fortitude: What I'm thankful for today.


At 11/23/05, 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your friend (and my former roomate) Soccer Dad pointed out the Rav's feelings about Thanksgiving to me several years ago. In fact, Thanksgiving is a double celebration, as it's the anniversary of my engagement to my wife.

Enjoy your day and your turkey!

At 11/23/05, 8:26 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Who taught Arlo Guthrie his Bar Mitzvah lessons? (His mother was Jewish.)
I wanna keel. I wanna see blood.

At 11/23/05, 9:19 PM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I never have understood why we wouldn't or shouldn't celebrate Thanksgiving. It has all of the elements of a Jewish holiday and it is a time in which those of us who work in the secular world receive vacation.

More time for family gatherings and you can never get enough of those.

At 11/24/05, 8:13 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for the ability to practice religion freely. It had nothing to do with our religion but we are living in this country and we are able to practice Judaism freely so for that we are thankful and having a feast to acknowledge that isn't bad or halachically wrong.


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