This year marks an extraordinary occurrence that many people outside of this JDate blog will likely be talking about to an annoying degree this week: the fascinating meeting of Thanksgiving and Chanukah for the first and last time in many of our lives (though I’m feeling confident about being here for Chanukah closing out Thanksgiving 2070). It’s an obvious subject for me to talk about as my blogs are posted on Thursdays, and Thanksgiving is on a Thursday this and every other year.
However, I don’t tend to enjoy the obvious topics, so you’re not about to read why you should be thankful for everything. Instead, I would like to explain a bit about why Chanukah and Thanksgiving go great together, and why Chanukah should remind us not to be complacent.
For the uninitiated, Chanukah is about a small amount of something going a long way, particularly a small amount of oil burning for eight days (though really, the miracle was the victory of the Maccabees). Making a lot of nothing is the key point of the holiday, and it emphasizes how to make the best of any situation. Fittingly, Thanksgiving is a holiday about being thankful for what we have and being proud of that.
Similarly, I was discussing prayer with one of the rabbis I regularly study with a few weeks back, and we went over what Jewish prayer has to consist of. It has to contain three things: praising, thanking, and requesting. We have to be grateful for all around us, even if it’s not the specific things we’ve asked for. We also thank G-d for anything we’ve gotten that we’ve wanted. And lastly, we ask for more again. The idea of wanting more always seems like such a taboo thing on Thanksgiving, we should be lucky we have what we have. But lucky for us, this year is also Chanukah, and so you can thank and praise, but don’t forget to want some more, too. Next year won’t have Chanukah and Thanksgiving meet again, but you can still ask for it to be an even better time than this year.
And of course, I wish everyone reading this a happy Chanukah and Thanksgiving, and hope you’re here with me for all the blogs ahead. Thanks for reading!