By Rabbi Adam Miller
Why is Thanksgiving so important? Why do so many individuals travel on overcrowded highways, hustle through packed airports, and brave cold weather just to celebrate Thanksgiving? Are we motivated by family, gratitude, or the historical significance of the day?
I think that if we are to be honest with one another, the real appeal behind Thanksgiving is gastronomic it’s all about the food.
Our mouths begin to water as we contemplate turkey brined and oven-baked. Sweet potato dishes and pumpkin pies begin to swim before our eyes.
This year we have the added bonus of Chanukah and Thanksgiving together. That provides one more reason for deep-fried turkey with crispy skin, and to have latkes (potato pancakes) as a side dish.
We give thanks for our bountiful feasts, where we will surely eat far beyond our normal capacity.
Yet, we are also aware of those who are less fortunate. Here in “paradise”, there are too many without a meal. This year, embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving before the holiday arrives. Consider donating to one of the many local organizations, like the Harry Chapin Food Bank, that are providing food for needy families at Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that gives and gives. After we are sated and full, the dishes are done, and all the guests have departed, we will still have Leftover Turkey. They say the true test of a cook is not how the turkey is prepared on Thanksgiving Day, but rather what is done with the Leftover Turkey. In some homes the leftover turkey will stretch, like the miracle of the Chanukah oil, for days and days on end until finally it runs out.
Leftover turkey teaches an important lesson. Let us share our excess bounty, so that all can experience the joy of Thanksgiving, not just for one day, but for as long as we can make the blessings last.
May we all strive to make this a holiday full of thanks and giving.
Have a Happy, Healthy and Blessed Thanksgiving,