Newsletter vol.2 issue 9
Kiselv 5771~ November 2010

Queen in the Kitchen
Cooking for The King

~A Little More Thanks~

At this time of year there’s a comment you are most likely to hear that goes something like this: “Jews don’t do Thanksgiving, we thank Hashem every day.”

Then there’s the wonderful response from an insightful Rabbi who said, ”So what’s wrong with taking one day and doing it a little more?”

What’s in a Name?

It makes sense when you think about it. Thanking is the essence of our name, ”Yehudim.” Leah named her fourth son Yehuda, from the root “hoda’ah,” “thank” because she recognized Hashem had given her more than her due. We are Yehudim, a nation called upon to acknowledge the blessings of life are all undeserved gifts, and to make known the Source of those gifts.

The Jewish calendar is regularly punctuated with opportunities to offer our gratitude. Soon we’ll be singing “Haneirot Hallalu” while lighting the Chanukah menorah to thank and praise Hashem for the miracle of Jewish survival. We observe Purim with prayers of thanksgiving and festive banquets. We sing Dayenu and Hallel to celebrate our freedom at the Pesach Seder. On Shavuot we offer Bikkurim in appreciation for our bounty. We read Chana’s grateful prayer on Rosh Hashanah. Every one of our holidays is a day for offering a little more thanks.

In fact, our Yom Kippur and Sukkot were the sources of inspiration for the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving. In a time of drought, their Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and when the rains came, they celebrated G-d giving them continued life with a meal of thanksgiving.

(next column)

The Thanksgiving/Shabbat
meal plan here:
Thanksgiving Recipes & Menus
& thanks for reading
~ !

Today Thanksgiving is considered a secular holiday, a complete departure from religious origins. The main event is the turkey dinner prepared with much advance planning and fanfare. The traditional side dishes vary but the turkey is essential. In Hebrew, turkey is “hodu,” or “thanksgiving.” I can’t help but wonder if Hashem is trying to tell us something.

Fan Fare

I like Thanksgiving. I like to share a traditional meal with friends and family with various styles of observance without worrying about someone using a cellphone, or the bathroom light being switched off, or explaining my not-really-cooking contraptions and timers. And turning on the game afterward is completely acceptable. Thanksgiving levels the playing field and we can all pretty much enjoy the day together-as long it’s kosher.

Which means, I am usually in the one in the kitchen. I look at it this way: It’s a whole day off just to cook for Shabbos, and we’re going to get a preview on Thursday.

Because I always want my Shabbos table to offer the best dishes of the week, the recipes I prepare for Thanksgiving are just the foundation of beautiful Shabbos meals to come. And I show you how to do this too, in The Kosher Channel’s Shabbat Thanksgiving pages.

Tov L’Hodos

The wise rabbi's question was really an answer: there really is nothing wrong with taking another day to thank a little more. As long as we are living up to our name and directing our thanks to Hashem.

I am very thankful to be a Jew. To have the wisdom of the Torah permeate my life, to have wise and willing role models and mentors who show me that the greatest treasure in life is the joy we find in every mitzvah and every chesed we do. And that is truly something to be thankful for.

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Cooking for The King: The book of Torah insights, recipes and practical tips designed to bring majesty to the mundane.