Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

The entire point of Thanksgiving is to be thankful. It’s a great time to express appreciation in the form of a prayer or statement.

If you like prayer, consider learning – or simply reading – one or more of the Jewish blessings over food. My Jewish Learning has a terrific page that gives the blessings for the most common foods you’ll see on your table. The blessings said over food before eating are always short. The idea is that when you’re hungry you can’t be particularly focused on gratitude. You can read the blessings here.

The long prayer of thanksgiving for a meal is said after you have eaten and can be truly grateful to be satisfied. That blessing is called Birkat Hamazon, and means “blessing the food”. This practice is commanded in the Torah in Deuteronomy 8:10 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He gave you“. At this point, after satiation, we sit back and reflect on all we have including an excellent meal. Should you want to say the Birkat, or to read or play it, you can find it here.

Whether you pray it or say it, be a role model to your children and friends and express your appreciation for all you have. Both the things that are ‘given by God’ like rain & sun, strength, the ability to sing, and those given by chance (and other people) like love, a safe home, laborers who picked the cranberries, bus drivers, and grocery clerks who work late, children who hug us, and tap water. We have a pretty darned good life. Don’t you love it? Don’t you appreciate it?

I appreciate each of you for giving me your trust and affection. I hope that I have helped you and that I will be able to help you in the coming year. May we be blessed with peace and kindness.