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Summary: Will your Thanksgiving Day be more about sports and food than about thanking God?

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One of the basic values of Judaism is hakarat hatov – the gratitude to others for favors and help extended to one. This concept is even embodied in the relationship of a Jew with one’s Creator. Ingratitude towards the Creator Who has granted us life and all of its attendant benefits is reckoned as being a primary sin of attitudes and bad values in Jewish ethical thought. Rabbi Berel Wein

A desire to kneel down sometimes pulses through my body, or rather it is as if my body has been meant and made for the act of kneeling. Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude, kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge, head deeply bowed, hands before my face. Esther Hillsume

“Gam zu l'tova. This too is for the good.” – Nachum Ish Gamzu, Talmud, Taanit, 21a

“Who is wise? One who learns from every man… Who is strong? One who overpowers his inclinations…

Who is rich? One who is satisfied with his lot… Who is honorable? One who honors his fellows.” – Ben Zoma, Ethics of the Fathers, 4:1

Lev_22:29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Col_4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

November brings us to the Thanksgiving Day holiday, which really should be known as National Gluttony Day or National Stuff Your Pie Hole Till You Can't Walk Day. ;-) It's reason to be has been lost in many places and certainly does not to seem to last past the day since we give it no more than a gratuitous prayer before we gorge. Once, my maternal grandfather must have taken a tad too long praying for a cousin. It went “Thank you, Lord, Amen. Pass the ham!” All eyes fell on the “starving cousin” who looked to well fed to be starving.

While, it is honorable and fitting to observe an annual day of thanksgiving, it is more fitting to seek to be thankful every day since God is doing far more for us than we deserve on a second by second basis. When we stand before Him and we see all His background work on our behalf we will be ashamed at our lack of gratitude because we did not get things our way especially when He shows us what a train wreck our way would have been. We will be very thankful then.

If you have more than one change of clothes, a permanent dwelling, some change in your pocket and you know where your next meal is coming from then you are richer than 85% or more of the rest of the world. I'd say that is a cause for thankfulness. Your job stinks and your Boss is a twit? Many people would gladly take your job and deal with the Boss. Be thankful. Your feet or knees hurt? Talk to the folks with no legs. All of this may sound trite, but it is true.

The poorest Americans are for the most part fat. Poor Africans are not. Indian (Bombay) women often only get two dresses in their life and if they are lucky a pair of sandals. What does you closet look like? Our poor have many places they can go to get food and clothes even if they live on the street. Some live on the street by choice. Many could do better if they chose to do so. Many in Asia can never find a way to better their condition. We need to be thankful.


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