Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
We celebrated Hanukkah and Thanksgiving at the same time yesterday, and it will not happen again for 80,000 years! We were trying to figure out how to say Thanksgiving in Hebrew without much luck. We do know that “thank you” is תודה (todah) and “many thanks” is רב תודות (rav todot) or תודה רבה (toda rabah). You can see to todot תודות at the end of line 3 and line 5 in this passage from 2 Chronicles 29:31 referring to the “thank offerings.”
וַיַּעַן יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר
עַתָּה מִלֵּאתֶם יֶדְכֶם לַיהוָה,
גֹּשׁוּ וְהָבִיאוּ זְבָחִים וְתוֹדוֹת,
וַיָּבִיאוּ הַקָּהָל זְבָחִים וְתוֹדוֹת,
וְכָל-נְדִיב לֵב עֹלוֹת.
καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Εζεκιας καὶ εἶπεν
νῦν ἐπληρώσατε τὰς χεῖρας ὑμῶν κυρίῳ
προσαγάγετε καὶ φέρετε θυσίας καὶ αἰνέσεως
εἰς οἶκον κυρίου
καὶ ἀνήνεγκεν ἡ ἐκκλησία θυσίας καὶ αἰνέσεως
καὶ πᾶς πρόθυμος τῇ καρδίᾳ ὁλοκαυτώσεις
Then Hezekiah said,
“You have now consecrated yourselves to the Lord.
Come near; bring sacrifices and thank offerings
to the house of the Lord.”
And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings,
and all who wereof a willing heart brought burnt offerings.
One thing really shocked me. For North Americans, Thanksgiving usually means giving thanks for the abundance of food and things that we have. But in this blogpost, there is a different Jewish slant. Wouldn’t it be lovely to think of liberty and religious freedom for all, not just for ourselves,
Thanksgiving and Hanukkah share the emphasis on gratitude for life, liberty, family and religious freedom, Zalmanov said.
What Americans call “the first Thanksgiving” was celebrated in 1621 at Plymouth Plantation by the 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans after their first harvest in the New World, said Rabbi Emeritus Michael Stevens, of Temple-Beth El in Munster.
The New England colonists celebrated “thanksgivings” regularly, Stevens said. These days of prayer thanked God for such blessings as a military victory, the end of drought or a good harvest.
The notion of liberality in thanksgiving comes into the passage above. At the end of this passage, the word translated as “willing” is also sometimes translated as “noble” or “liberal.” Let’s have noble hearts.