Tommorow is Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday. OK, American and Canadian, though they celebrate it on a different day. While many cultures have a harvest festival at this time of year, Thanksgiving is different in that it clearly acknowledges divine providence as its source and inspiration.
Its direct ancestor was the Hebrew festival of Sukkot, as William Bradford and the Pilgrims were very familiar with the Hebrew Bible, and regarded themselves as akin to the Jews dwelling in the Wilderness.
On the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims celebrated and thanked G-d for their survival and reportedly gave a feast, inviting the local Indian tribes as guests. The holiday has endured ever since.
Over the years, Thanksgiving has acquired a number of traditions..foods like roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie, football on TV, travel madness for those leaving town to be with their extended families...and a feeling of thankfulness for G-d's bounty and closeness to our families, sometimes unexpressed but never absent.
As you celebrate, try something...take a moment to reflect on your blessings. Be thankful for that bountiful harvest,for your loved ones, for the fact that we live as free men in a free country. And remember that this is so because other men and women are willing to endure hardship and be away from their loved ones to keep it so.
Take a minute to spend some time and enjoy the feeling of being close to the people that have always been there for you, the ones you can't leave behind, as the song says.
And carry with you my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving for you and yours.
May you be blessed...Selah.