Friday, November 25, 2016

Proof That You Do Have a Soul (and the Real Reason to Eat Turkey)

The goal of this blog is a thanksgiving weekend. Please share.

Waking upThe question to start off your table talk tonight:

Why does it have to be turkey?

I mean really —

They ate turkey so we have to eat turkey?

Would it be so bad to have a Thanksgiving pizza? Or Thanksgiving hamburgers? Or a red beans and rice Thanksgiving?

Why do Americans eat turkey like Jews eating matzah on Pesach?

Imagine you are on the boat with Columbus.

(Maybe you're even a Jewish refugee
from the Spanish Inquisition.)

Of course, you and all your geographically-challenged buddies think you're in Asia.

It's a strange world! The people, the fauna and flora.

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

Remember, you think you're in the East Indies, so you call it "Indian chicken."

Are you with me so far?

French explorers agree that it looks like a chicken and they call poulet d'Inde (Indian chicken), later shortened to dinde (pronounced "dand").

English settlers think it looks more like a Turkey pheasant than a chicken, so they call the bird turkey.

Jewish explorers side with the French and call it tarnegol hodu — "Hindu chicken" — later shortened to hodu.

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

So back to our question: What food should you eat on hodu-day? Hodu, of course.

Now ask somebody Jewish: You're Jewish? Can you explain what "Jewish" means?

I don't mean the religious or cultural meaning; I mean the etymological meaning of "Jewish".

Look it up. It means "a state of being thankful".

If you're living up to the name "Jewish" then you are living in a state of being thankful.

I assume that means every day. Make that every moment.

That's a lot of hodu.

Question for the table: How do you do it?

Say the rabbis: every moment is too hard, but once a day is not enough. Try this compromise: try to pause 100 times a day to say thank you.

Does that sound like trying to do 100 push-ups? A great idea, but too much effort?

+ + + +

The solution is the promised proof that you have a soul.

Remember the discussion last week about having a soul v. being a soul?

This week, counter-point:

Take a look at the daily siddur.

Most of it is various expressions of gratitude.

The very first line of the siddur begins like this:

"I'm grateful before you O Living King, for returning my soul to me..."

What can this possibly mean, if soul is what I am?

It would make more sense to say, "I'm grateful for your returning me to my body."

The confusion lies in our definition of "me".

Who am I who is speaking? Who am I who is thinking? Who am I who is experiencing?

I am not a soul. Nor am I a body.

I am a soul-body fusion. The bodily part of me is real and matters. It doesn't need the soul part of me to live, it can live as animal. It can live unconsciously.

But when consciousness returns, say in the morning, that kind of living is so much greater than being asleep.

And when consciousness is elevated, that kind of living is so much greater than being "asleep".

And the simplest way to elevate consciousness is to pause throughout your day and say, "Wow, thank you."

Or maybe it's not so simple. What do you think?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - I'm sure you're still counting down the days to Channuka.... Have you seen our recommended books and toys for kids of all ages?
PPS - Yes, once again this week this message contains a new easter egg....
When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.
Read more at:
When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.
Read more at:


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