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"Celebrating Thanksgiving" - Comments

1 U.R. on 2012 11 20

umm, i really don’t understand what the letters ruled. The pilgrims did not have turkey to celebrate , they had a meal with the AmerIndians who were already there and who had helped them to establish a community. It was giving thanks to the AmerIndians -and- to G0D.

So what is the problem? It is not a baseless custom, it is to signify that there are things to be thankful for and for Jews it should be especially significant as it also shows one does not need a YomTov to express thanks to G0D for having a safe haven.

2 Tzvi Haber on 2012 11 20

I was expecting that comment, and actually, was expecting it from you smile. Someone asked something similar during the shiur I gave on this as well.
My understanding is that R’ Moshe was focusing more on the celebration revolving around the Turkey, and the celebrating that they had food, which is how he understood the main commemoration.
And indeed many historians see things the same way, and if you study the written accounts of the Plymouth Pilgrims they don’t reference safe haven, rather plentiful food, and turkeys.
Reb Moshe felt that this was not worthy of a holiday and therefore considered baseless from a halachic perspective.

3 S Haber on 2012 11 22

Great article. In the interest of truth and accuracy I will point out that the first Thanksgiving meal took place down the road at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia.The service was led by captain John Woodleaf and it marked the safe landing of their ship December 4th, 1619. To quote the Berkeley Charter:  “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

4 David R on 2014 11 28

I read many divrei Torah and respect Torah Scholarship.  However, I find the ideas expressed here somewhat idiotic.  What ever happened to “the law of the land is the law”?  What is wrong with joining with others to feel gratitude?  What is wrong with eating a meal that harkens back to some sort of tradition?  Of course this is not a torah or hallachic based holiday, but what is wrong with serving turkey (we are not talking about kashrut here?  Does this mean that on the 4th of July (assumng it is not Shabbat) we should not have a cookout, watch fireworks, or go to a baseball game?  Seriously - Rabbis Haber - I have respect for you, but can’t you find something more compelling than to suggest we not be grateful, that we not eat turkey, etc?  Should we not vote on Election Day either?  Please.

5 Sender Haber on 2014 11 28

When our great-great-grandparents came to this land from Nova Odessa over one hundred years ago, they were so grateful to be here that they did not even consider not celebrating Thanksgiving. Unsure of some of parameters mentioned in the article, they - along with their fellow ‘Telzers’ - adopted the practice of eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and cranberry sauce on the last Shabbos of November. My brother and I are the fifth generation to carry on this custom and it is precisely because of the feelings of gratitude and identification that you mention. There have been years when I’ve had the meal on Thursday as well. I don’t see any harm in the exchange of ideas in the article.

6 Tzvi Haber on 2014 12 07

David,
To be very clear, I in no way indicated that we should not be grateful, or a lack of gratitude.  This was a study of the laws of following in the ways of the nations, and would in fact arguably apply to the fourth of July celebrations as well, were one particular to celebrate then yearly in a specific manner. 
This conversation has nothing to do with following the law of the land, voting, or otherwise being loyal to, or active in, the USA.

7 Dvora on 2015 10 01

Maybe I would understand this better if it was applied to the 4th of July. Sorry Rabbi I just don’t understand. The best part of this article are the comments. ..Interesting history

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