Well, friends, it might feel like Passover all over again. Unlike many other groups of people, we have been here before. We celebrated the Passover holiday with Zoom seders, outdoor, socially distant spreads, and the realization that this year just wasn’t going to look like years past.
It’s time to do it again as we lean into the American side of our American-Jewish or Jewish-American identities and celebrate Thanksgiving. As we sit down to our Thanksgiving tables, more than ever, we may recognize who is missing.
Some of us will look around the table and realize that this isn’t the table we usually sit at for our Thanksgiving meal.
Some of us, those who are the usual hosts, will look around at where our friends and family have sat in years past and think about who will fill those seats when it is safe to gather indoors again.
Some of us, like at every holiday, will call to mind the memory of the last Thanksgiving we spent with beloved friends or relatives, who are only with us in spirit for this year, as their souls have departed this earth in recent days or years past.
We just might not feel like our whole selves this Thanksgiving. We can name that. It’s hard, it’s sad, and it’s our temporary reality.
I am thankful that our Jewish tradition can be a grounding force in difficult times, such as these. My prayer is that each of us can craft a ritual to help bring a little holiness and perhaps even “wholeness” to our Thanksgiving tables, where we just might not otherwise feel like our complete selves.
Whether you’re gathering with others over Zoom or with your pandemic pod, I invite you to set aside time for a holy moment. Call out to God, or that Holy Energy of the Universe, and bring something spiritual into your space. Say a blessing for the good in your life, whether you begin with the words, “Baruch atah Adonai” or “Thank you God for…” take a moment to give thanks, even when the world doesn’t look as we hoped it would, there is still room to say a blessing. Through our collective blessings, I pray that each of us may feel a little more whole Thanksgiving.
Wishing everyone a safe and blessed Thanksgiving.