Posted on | November 23, 2006 | By Rabbi Max Weiman | 3 Comments
Although my wife Chava is working at the hospital Thursday night, she’s still making the turkey, stuffing, orange/cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie with marshmallow fluff, and pumpkin pie. America has its pros and cons, but Thanksgiving is definitely a good thing. Eat, and thank G-d.
Even atheists and agnostics seem to appreciate the spiritual nature of the day. The delicious food and drink remind us that the Almighty wants us to enjoy and experience pleasure. That’s what life is supposed to be about.
In the biblical Creation story, Mankind was originally placed in what is usually translated as the “Garden of Eden”. Did you know that “Eden” is Hebrew for pleasure? Mankind was originally placed in a Garden of Pleasure. The implication of the story of creation should be obvious, mankind was designed for pleasure.
Treat the body well.
But food is merely a pleasure for the body. Why should we celebrate the body, when the main focus of spirituality is the soul?
The body and soul are similar to a horse and rider. The rider can use the horse to go farther and faster than he could on foot. But he needs to give the animal food and water. He needs to give it proper rest and exercise, and even companionship from other horses. When we allow the body to experience pleasure at a time of spiritual elevation, we give the horse a treat so it will celebrate along with us. Then the body and soul can work together.
Life is filled with opposites.
Many things in life contain an element of its opposite. Ice, on the atomic level has elements that vibrate and create heat. Within each tragedy in life there is a piece of hope and a positive aspect. If you have a loved one pass away, the fact that you are upset proves that they had someone in the world who cared about them. A bigger tragedy would be if you couldn’t care less that they died.
Look for the spark.
The universe exists in an illusion that there is no God, yet He is imbedded in the creation. Inside this flawed world are aspects of holiness. Inside of every human being there exists a lofty soul. The trick of life is to find the spark of goodness inside every difficult event; to find the spark of goodness inside every person you meet; and to find something good,a piece of Godliness, in every nook and cranny of the universe.
P.S. many people think kosher turkey tastes best! (And for Vegans, there’s Tofurky.)