I read a fascinating and inspiring article by R. David Seidenberg of neohasid.org, which raises a lot of my questions about Thanksgivukah (or however you want to spell it)…the overlap of Chanukah and Thanksgiving. First, he, who was clearly more assiduous than I, found that while, yes, it’s many millennia until the next time that Thanksgiving and Chanukah overlap in exactly this way, we only have to wait until 2070 (57 years) until the next time they overlap, and it repeats again in 2165. So, while I don’t expect to live that long, Olya and most of the children we know will get to experience it twice in their lifetimes.
That is, of course, if Thanksgiving and Chanukah are still around in 53 years, let alone 152 or even more unlikely 70,000 years, the number generally touted. Who knows what will become of the earth as it warms, as the oceans rise, and storms worsen? Who knows what will become of the US? (I hope it will be still around next Thanksgivukkah, but we are a young nation that is struggling mightily right now with opposing forces.) And who knows about the Jews and our holidays? (I suspect that, given how much we have survived over the millennia, we will still be around, trying over and over to reinterpret this holiday.)
Also in terms of connecting Thanksgiving and Jewish living, we can chuckle at the Hebrew connection. The holiday of Thanksgiving is Chag Hahodayah (literally holiday of the thanksgiving). And the word for turkey in Hebrew is hodu, the homophone for the word/phrase “give thanks” as is hodu L’Adonai ki tov of Psalm 136 – Give thanks to the Eternal because it is good. Even the turkey helps us give thanks.
Chanukah is a complicated holiday – one in which both courage and fanaticism are present, preserving and destroying. I’ll write more about this later this week. In the meantime, I am grateful beyond measure for many things:
- My friends and family who have patiently supported me
- What appears to be the return of health for my daughter (truly hallelujah)
- The people who read and especially those who comment on my blog
- The people who accepted me as their rabbi over the last two years
- The people who asked me to officiate their weddings
- The amazing ease of our transition from the mountains to the north bay
- My husband’s joy at digging his hands into soil in November
- The birds who frequent our new bird feeders
- The ability to get wax and wick out of our new carpet
- The possibilities ahead for teaching, officiating, celebrating, being present for and connecting and inspiring Jewishly