Dear Kol Rinah Family,
I hope you’ve had a delicious and meaningful Thanksgiving.
One of the things that I love and appreciate about Jewish life is that it goes on, every day, every week, regardless of whatever else is going on the world-politics, elections, fires, terrorism, lifecycle events, Black Friday sales, and travel.
Tonight, we’ll gather for Kabbalat Shabbat at 6pm in the lower auditorium. Candle lighting will be at 4:25pm. Services tomorrow morning will be at 9am as usual, downstairs again. I’ll be teaching Torah Talk at 10:10am, where we’ll be looking at Jacob’s exclamation that seeing his brother Esau’s face is like seeing the face of God, and I’ll be speaking about that as well in services.
Mincha Saturday afternoon will be at 3:25pm, and Shabbat ends at 5:25pm.
Minyan Sunday will be at 8am and 6pm, and 7am and 6pm the rest of the week.
And now for a little Thanksgiving Torah…
There are occasions in the biblical narratives where a person says “thank you,” whether to a person or to God. But much more frequently, people do not say, “thank you.” Perhaps it’s the nature of the terse biblical text that tends not to record very many social niceties and conversations.
But as important as it is to say thank you to people when they do something for you, so as to not make them feel invisible and unappreciated, Thanksgiving is not really about saying thank you. It’s about having a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation at the bounty that in an objective if not subjective sense, each of has. We each have a bounty that people of generations and centuries before us would not have comprehended.
To me, when Jacob kisses and cries and hugs his brother Esau, he’s experiencing gratitude, even though he doesn’t say thank you. When Jacob sets up an alter near Shechem, it doesn’t say explicitly that it’s to say thank you to God, but it comes from a feeling of bounty, of abundance, of gratitude.
What are the ways you could do a better job literally saying thank you to the people in your life, on occasion, and regularly? And what would come from pausing and acknowledging silently, but deeply the feeling of bounty and abundance and gratitude that we experience, even amidst the pains, absences and disappointments of our lives?
With deep gratitude to all of you for allowing me to serve as your rabbi,
Shabbat shalom and see you in shul,
Rabbi Noah Arnow