Thanksgiving and the Shabbat

November 23, 2018

So here it is . . . the Shabbat immediately after Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving is ALWAYS on a Thursday, and Shabbat is ALWAYS on a Friday night, we always have the same predicament. Leftovers for dinner or not? On the one hand . . . making Shabbat special, maybe we should have a special made to order menu. But on the other hand, why not prolong the deliciousness of Thanksgiving?

We don’t usually think of Thanksgiving as a Jewish holiday, but, believe it or not, it actually has its roots in the Torah. The Pilgrims, when they left for the New World in 1620, identified with the Children of Israel in the book of Exodus. They saw themselves as the New Israelites, escaping an evil king, crossing a sea safely, and coming to the Promised Land. When they had spent the first year in Plymouth, and wanted to commemorate their anniversary with an autumn harvest, they chose the Biblical holiday of Sukkot to emulate. Sukkot is essentially a harvest holiday – the last harvest of the year, an autumn harvest. The main theme of Sukkot is actually Thanksgiving!” Perfect. No, they didn’t build “booths” the way we Jews do at Sukkot, but the harvest center of the holiday definitely connected – and they had their own Sukkot in Plymouth.

So maybe it IS a good idea to have leftover turkey for Shabbat Dinner.

Shabbat Shalom