Crazy times… Sad times… and yet my favorite American holiday is around the corner…
Heck, forget the corner, it is two days away.
I always feel a bit sad when I am not back East for Thanksgiving… not with my parents and brother and his family… and while I have wonderful friends and family here… and will get to be with my daughter… it is not the same as all of us being “home” together.
For me, Thanksgiving is NOT a forgotten holiday, though every major department store and retailer would have us believe it is nothing more than a few hours-long, stepping stone to Black Friday and the other, overly commercialized holiday! It’s sad and rather frustrating.
Expressing gratitude… giving thanks is essential. Simply saying a heartfelt thank you to someone face-to-face is so very powerful. Meaning it AND saying it! It really does mean so much and can change both you, and the receiver.
So if you celebrate Thanksgiving, make sure to include that… make a list of all the things you are grateful for… and speak them out loud!
Hey… wait a second! We do that every morning… or at least should… when we pray. Okay, maybe we don’t call everyone we should every day… or even email or text a thank you… but Rabbi Denbo says this should be an essential part of the way we prepare to pray…
“Hashem has given me so much already.”
That is #5 out of 7 in my prayer prep.
He says to take it a step further and have a list of what you are truly grateful for, and run through it in your mind… every morning and every time you prepare to pray. There’s that list again… but here, it should be a daily reminder.
So we give thanks every morning… thanks to Hashem and all he has given us. Powerful stuff, and something that should ABSOLUTELY happen daily.
Ben wrote in his last post: “We have three ways of interacting with the world. Thought, Speech, Action.”
All are essential for Jews… but I’d like to focus on Speech for the rest of this one.
Words have great power. As a writer, I always strive to find the ones that are the most specific… that will resonate and make my points as clear as possible.
I just said how important it is thank people with speech.
Well… now I’m gonna jump the shark a little bit… or at least take a left turn at Albuquerque…
Let me preface this by saying that Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots gives a ton of money and support to many Jewish causes… His generosity is astounding.
Last night, before Monday Night Football, the Patriots actually took a moment of silence to honor Ezra Schwartz, the young American recently killed by terrorists in Israel. It was powerful, moving and important…
HOWEVER… they did not speak the name “Israel.” They did not mention WHERE he was killed. They chose to leave this WORD out. Many people commented on this… had an issue with it… and I do, too.
Granted the casualties in one night were much higher… but with Paris, and Mali and other places, the world shouts… the world rises up… marches… protests… and the world uses words to express their horror. They name the place… the city… they are precise.
Not with Israel.
With Israel, there is too often silence. Her name not even falling off the tongue… moving from the lips… Silence.
Israel. Israel. Israel.
We must speak it, shout it and be proud of her.
I know our community is divided politically… I know we fall on different sides of a two-state solution and what to do or not do. But the word Israel MUST resonate for all of us. We must be connected to her and thus to each other.
We must speak the name Israel… and let others hear us do it.
Our community is already fractured, and the dangers because of this are real. And yet, if we simply speak out… with similar words and ideas, it is enough to form an unbreakable bond, despite a difference in philosophy and attitude.
We are a beautiful, powerful people. We use speech in miraculous and meaningful ways. The power of the Hebrew letters is nothing short of miraculous.
We come together and utter prayers of mourning… We come together and sing words for Ezra…
Let us come together before that happens!
Let us have more moments of speaking out and up, together, than moments of silence.
I would like to leave you with some words.
Thank you. Todah.
For reading this… supporting this and for being my brothers and sisters.
No one is saying she is perfect, but she is all we have. Let us at least be united on respecting her and supporting her… and letting the world know that we do. And let us never be afraid to speak her name… Israel.
And lastly… based on the video link above…
|Kol od ba’le’vav p’nima,Nefesh yehudi ho’miyah.
U’lefa-atei mizrach kadimah,
Ayin le’Tziyyon tzofiyah.
Od lo avda tikva-teinu,
Ha’tikvah bat sh’not al-payim
Lih-yot am chofshi b’ar-tzeinu
Eretz Tziyyon v’Yerushalayim.As long as within our hearts
The Jewish soul sings,
As long as forward to the East
To Zion, looks the eye –
Our hope is not yet lost,
It is two thousand years old,
To be a free people in our land
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.