Thursday, November 22, 2012

How Jewish is Thanksgiving?

Imagine you are the first European to visit America.

Of course, you think you're in India.

It's an amazing New World! Strange people, strange foliage, strange animals.

And you see this funky chicken. What do you call it?

Remember, you think you're in India, so you naturally call it "Indian chicken."

Are you with me so far?

So French explorers dubbed this new bird poulet d'Inde (Indian chicken) later shortened to dinde (pronounced "dand").

English settlers called the bird turkey because they thought it looked like another type of fowl that was imported from Turkey.

Jewish explorers sided with the French and called it tarnegol hodu which means "hindu chicken" and was later shortened it to simply hodu.

What's interesting for us is that the Hebrew word HODU also happens to mean "give thanks."

So from a Jewish perspective, you could say it's very appropriate to eat hodu on "hodu"-day.

But does that make Thanksgiving Jewish?

Look up the word "Jewish".

It means from the tribe of Judah.

Look up the word Judah.

It means, you guessed it: "thankful".

Therefore, being "Jewish" means cultivating a thanksgiving mindset every single day.

(I can hear it already - "Gee honey, I'm watching so much football because the rabbi told me to....)

Wait a second (I know you're thinking this)... Did he say "Jewish

I did.

In fact - and this is a juicy one for your table - when Columbus
famously came to the New World, who among his crew was the very first
to spot land? Obviously, it must have been the man working in the
upper mast on the front ship, right? And we know who this was:
Roderigo De Triana, a Jewish sailor.

So for your table: How Jewish is Thanksgiving? 
(Overheard from the mouth of a child, "They don't have a mitzvah to honor their parents, so they have mother's day and father's day, but for us every day is mother's day and father's day. They don't have a mitzvah to be thankful every day, so they have Thanksgiving, but for us every day is thanksgiving.)

Below: Two links on cultivating gratitude...

Article on gratitude by the renowned Rabbi Pliskin
Audio on gratitude by the inimitable Rabbi Rietti

This nugget of wisdom is a sample from the Amazing Jewish Fact-a-Day Calendar for iphone, ipad, Android or Kindle:

Android (Google)
Android/Kindle (Amazon)

Happy Thanksgiving.

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