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A Dickens Thanksgiving

11/23/2018 08:51:09 AM


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity"…it seems that these words profoundly ring true now as much as ever.   The plagues of our time seem to be rearing their ugly head with greater ferocity…floods, fires, drug addiction, political malfeasance, income disparity, climate change and pollution…take your pick, there are plenty to choose from.  But Thank God that for most every debilitating action, there seems to often be an equal and opposite human reaction (call it “Newtonian sociology”).  And while I am not one to ascribe Divine meaning to any natural or human-made destructive catalyst, I do believe that it is the Divinity within each of us, that in these moments, rises or falls depending on OUR, if not equal, than at least, opposite response.  And there are so many to choose from if we could just be willing to turn to page 2 of the Newspaper.  My favorite I heard about yesterday was Guy Fieri’s “step-up” to help cook and serve 15,000 meals to Camp Fire refugees and First Responders in Chico, CA.  Check it out!


Thanksgiving (both the concept and the holiday), whether it was invented by the Jews or just built upon by our Sages, isn’t a once a week or once a year platitude.  It is an ongoing effort for living our lives with eyes wide open to the blessings that abound AND the willingness to not believe that we NECESSARILY deserve them.  Yes, often we can use our talents and experience to build our lives in such a way that they align with the effort invested.  But Thanksgiving is an injunction to look down even as we are looking up with hope and optimism.  We have to look down because WE are the sum total of all the experiences, people, gifts, “leg-ups,” “hands,” advice, calls, mentions, connections and shoulders that have appeared and supported us all along the way.  I am not saying that all those who have socio-economically “succeeded” in their lives did so only thanks to others.  Of course not.  But Thanksgiving is the defense against the tendency to believe that it doesn’t matter that the pre-existing paved roads, electrical lines, patterns of society, and built-in preconceptions didn’t help.  If we center our focus upon the gifts we have received, at least once a day, not only do we remember that we don’t necessarily deserve all we have received but even more importantly, if we went out of our way to offer it to someone else, we might actually change the world by offering to help change one life. 

Sun, December 15 2019 17 Kislev 5780