This year, Thanksgiving and Chanukah come together. It only happened once before, in 1888. And it’s impossible to determine when or if this will ever happen again.
Thanksgiving has lots to do with Chanukah.
Thanksgiving comes packed with a deep narrative; a narrative about an arduous journey to escape religious persecution for freedom in a new land, the establishment of a democratic charter, and the sense of Divine providence that carried those refugees through their plight.
That’s Chanukah, as well: a narrative deeply embedded in the collective Jewish psyche of how we fought back against religious oppression in our own land, earned our freedom, and thanked G-d for the miracles.
In America, most holidays have lost their original significance for people. With Thanksgiving, that may not yet be the case. Americans still act as though they identify with the plight of those Pilgrims. Most of us, after all, are descendants of those who fled to this side of the planet seeking a new future unbridled by the oppressive restrictions of the old world. And when we think of America, we still think of a land of promise and liberty.
So Chanukah and Thanksgiving are deeply connected, and that connection can be summed up in just four words, “Thank G-d, we’re free.”
Please make sure to join us at the GRAND MENORAH LIGHTING CELEBRATION, Monday, Dec. 2, on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.
G-d Bless America!
Rabbi Moishe Carlebach
Chabad of Toluca Lake is located at 10620 Whipple St. #106 in Toluca Lake. For more information call (818) 308-4118 or visit ChabadofTolucaLake.com.