It doesn’t happen very often. Most of us don’t remember the last time it did. Perhaps that’s one reason it seems so special.
You’ve probably guessed the event to which I am referring. (If you haven’t, the cheerful sign-bearing turkey above provides an unmistakable clue.)
Yes, that’s it! This year, Thanksgiving coincides with the first day of Chanukah.
There are some obvious parallels, to be sure. Each holiday is replete with its own foods. What would a traditional Thanksgiving dinner be without turkey and pumpkin pie? And when we think of Chanukah, latkes (potato pancakes) and doughnuts come to mind.
However, the similarities go beyond the gastronomic. Each commemorates liberation from religious oppression: the Jews’ at the hands of the Greeks and the Puritans’ by those intolerant of their beliefs. When each group of people was delivered from physical and spiritual challenges, each had a similar response: to thank the Almighty for His many kindnesses. And even though the Jews show their gratitude by lighting the menorah and singing praises–and the Puritans expressed their thanks by sharing their bounty with family and friends (as do Americans to this day)–the idea is the same. For all of us owe a big “thank you” to the Source of the myriad blessings that come our way each and every day.
So rejoice in the knowledge that He guides and cares for us in so many ways. And please pass the latkes and yams.