Category: November-2

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner November 2022

Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s Corner November 2022

By Eric Carlson in November-2 on October 24, 2022

October and the Fall Feast Celebrations flew by! We experienced the Presence of Adonai profoundly in our Yom Teruah, Ten Days of Awe, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah Services! A season of repenting, forgiveness, Joy and Happiness! Now we are in November and looking forward to Thanksgiving on November 24th 2022. The traditional teaching for the “First Thanksgiving” is the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621, however that wasn’t the first. The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States. However, there was another, more modest Thanksgiving at Berkley Plantation, Virginia on the banks of the James River in 1619, two years before the Pilgrims even landed at Plymouth.

On December 4, 1619, after ten weeks at sea, thirty-eight English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, about 20 miles upstream from Jamestowne. Upon arrival Captain John Woodleaf held the first service of Thanksgiving as the newly landed settlers fell to their knees to thank God for their safe arrival. The Charter of Berkeley Hundred stated “We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.

George Washington’s October 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

The Thanksgiving celebration became an important part of the American history by the 1800s. Thanksgiving was modeled after the biblical celebration of Sukkot (which we just recently celebrated) when Israel thanked God for sustenance and provision in the desert wonderings.

Thanksgiving as we celebrate it today is one of copious amounts of food:  Turkey, stuffing, vegetables, gravies, and numerous pies and is centered around Family!  Thanksgiving is the most travelled holiday in America, families reunite and come together, and for some it’s the only time of the year they do so.

The act of Thanksgiving is biblical, not the American holiday, but the act.  It is a sacrifice of thanks commanded in Torah where one gives heartfelt thanks to Adonai for many reasons including but not limited to: recovery from illness, delivered from danger, safe return home from a trip or journey, provision and sustenance, or any other reason for thanking Adonai for His blessings:

Leviticus 12:7. If a person offers it for giving thanks (todah {to-dah’}: to give thanks, laud, praise, to confess, give praise to God, songs of liturgical worship in the Psalms, hymn of praise, thanks offering, sacrifice of thanksgiving), he is to offer it with the thanksgiving sacrifice (Zevach Todah: Zevach is an animal sacrifice but is not a Korban, not a sin sacrifice. It’s a sacrifice of covenant righteousness-fellowship with God) of unleavened cakes mixed with olive oil, matzah spread with olive oil, and cakes made of fine flour mixed with olive oil and fried.

Todah is an act of worship whose root word is Yadah, is from the root yad that means hand. So Yada is an extended hand, worshipping the Lord with extended hands. “Thanksgiving” (Todah) is an extension of the hands, avowal, adoration, the kehillah, the congregation of worshippers offering a sacrifice of praise.  In Leviticus 9:22 Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them after offering the sacrifice.  Raised hands signifies praise and worship, accepted of sacrifices, and blessings!  We raise our hands to give thanks for the blessings in our lives to the glory of God.  We find Yada being used when Adonai intervened in the affairs of His people with miraculous deliverance.  Yadah is our response to answered prayers and when Adonai reveals Himself through His word, through revelation, or the manifestation of His presence. Yadah is a believers natural response for Adonai’s blessing upon us or His divine intervention on our behalf. As you gather together with family this Thanksgiving give thanks to the Lord for all that He has done for you and all that He will do for you! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever! This is the very purpose of this day, give Him thanks!!