April 14, 2024
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Five Reasons to Be Thankful

Although Thanksgiving is not a Jewish holiday, we American Jews hold it very dear to our hearts and for good reason. Gratitude, which is the hallmark of Jewish life, causes happiness. We’ve all seen a plethora of negativity this year. Let’s focus on being grateful for what we have:

1. Be thankful you are a Jew. While the rest of the world’s population is lost in a sea of uncertainty and fear, Jews have the confidence that comes from the Torah and our Sages to know that God knows exactly what He’s doing, and whether or not we are privy to His plans is irrelevant because we know that they will turn out for the best. We also know that one event in history, such as a pandemic or a crisis, can often lead to much more wonderful times. הזורעים בדמעה ברינה יקצורו (those who sow in tears will reap in song), בערב יליו בכי ולבוקר רינה (in the evening he will lie in tears and in the morning sing songs of joy), כי רגע באפו חיים ברצונו (for one minute in His anger, a lifetime in His desire).

2. Be thankful you live in the 21st century. Had we gone through the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 we would not have had Zoom, smartphones or Google to help us deal with social isolation. Now we can see our family members, regardless of where they are around the world, instantaneously; meet for coffee with best friends over Zoom; attend shiurim and hear famous rabbis speak to us encouraging words of chizuk right in our own homes.

3. Be thankful for the extra time you have with your children or spouse. I realize that not everyone is living with someone else, but for those who are alone, see #2. Many of us are working from home and our children are learning from home. Isn’t it nice to be able to offer your child or spouse a cup of tea or hot chocolate while they are working/learning? To spend those five minute breaks or lunch breaks together? To hug your child or spouse in the middle of a work day?

4. Be thankful you have a home, food to eat and clothes to wear. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a step back and put things into context. We are not living through the Holocaust, when all of these basic needs were taken from the Jews. We have so much more than just our basic needs, and we must thank God for that.

5. Finally, and most importantly: Be thankful that you’re alive. What a wonderful gift!

I realize that there are many people who are finding it difficult to be thankful right now due to their own personal troubles and stresses. I’m not, God forbid, trying to gloss over those issues. My goal is to give people a different perspective and, hopefully, enable them to focus on what they have rather than what they have not.


Jessica Savitt lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

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