Thanksgiving meets Chanukah — and they find they have a lot in common - Special Sections

Thanksgiving meets Chanukah — and they find they have a lot in common

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman | | Posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 11:35 am

There’s got to be some connection between Thanksgiving and Chanukah. Why? Because the Baal Shem Tov taught us that everything a person sees or hears is meant to be a lesson in life. Thanksgiving is the American holiday right before Chanukah. In fact, in 2013, American Thanksgiving fell on the first day of Chanukah. Tell me there isn’t meaning there.

Yet, if you’re looking for a Jewish thanksgiving, it’s Sukkot, which is the last Jewish holiday before Thanksgiving. Sukkot is the original biblical Thanksgiving. The Torah calls it The Festival of Ingathering — in other words, when all the crops, fruits included, have been gathered in. At that point, we gather for seven days to show our thankfulness. After we left Egypt, Sukkot also became a festival to celebrate the divine protection we enjoyed for 40 years in the wilderness. And that protection continues to this day.

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