The Thanksgiving Yid guest post by Duby Litvin
Ahh Thanksgiving….. such a warm and fuzzy time of year. The day we stuff our faces, wear stretchy pants and eat doubles and thirds even after the buttons on our shirt have popped open. Sukkos and Pesach have nothing on Thanksgiving. The day screams “Eat!”
While Thanksgiving is every Chef’s (and mom’s) dream holiday – Thanksgiving is also the ultimate Machlokesdik of Holidays. It’s the whole “Do you Celebrate Thanksgiving?” discussion.
I have found 5 types of Thanksgiving Jews
Category A: They celebrate Thanksgiving with a big Turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. They invite friends or family, eating to their hearts content. Having experienced Yom Tov all their lives, Thanksgiving is a breeze! These moms can whip up this fancy meal better than any other secular American – because these Yiddishe Mamas KNOW HOW TO COOK! Thanksgiving is never a day of stress like all the magazines talk about – but it’s day of fun. There is no Shul to get to on time, no shopping for “Thanksgiving outfits,” no sheitels to have styled, or Shabbos makeup to worry about, and the most important: no showers before the 18 minutes! It’s a holiday without the Yom Tov
Category B: These people don’t really celebrate on the actual Thursday of Thanksgiving but make a “Thanksgiving Style Shabbos” – (well Turkeys ARE on sale ) So for Friday night they’ll serve a turkey with some pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes and pair it with the traditional gefilte fish and chicken soup. These people think Thanksgiving has a nice story, comes with lots of delicious recipes – but consider it a little ‘pas’t nisht’ for frumme yidden to celebrate and would be considered “chukas ha’goyim.” Therefore these guys do their little thing on Shabbos instead. This also pacifies their American friends who think they’re elitist Frum Jews, and also calms the ultra frum parents who shudder at the thought that their child is taking part in American culture.
Category C: If you haven’t figured this one out yet – these are the people that refuse to have anything to do with Thanksgiving and see it as any other “goyishe” holiday, such as Christmas or Easter and will take no part in it. With a turned up nose – they wouldn’t dare buy a turkey (since it might be seen as a ‘holiday’ turkey – and would be maaras ayin). The truth is this attitude doesn’t really stem from arrogance but more of a religious thing. These people truly believe that “every day is Thanksgiving.” We must thank HaShem EVERY DAY for what we have and dedicating only ONE day to be coined Thanksgiving belittles the concept entirely. Therefore, shunning the ideology behind Thanksgiving, these guys feel it shouldn’t be celebrated at all.
You will find a similar attitude with American holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Since “Every day is Mother’s Day” then the ONE day in May shouldn’t be looked upon as any differently.
True Story: I have a grandmother who actually yelled at me for calling her on Mother’s day – and after giving me the speech that we don’t celebrate Mother’s Day, being the good little granddaughter that I am, I listen to her and no longer call her for Mom’s day (or any other day )
But getting back to the topic – Thanksgiving.
Then you have Category D:
The people who don’t really know what Thanksgiving is to begin with! These are the people (bless their ultra- orthodox hearts – you gotta love them!) – they pashut don’t know what a Pumpkin is – and when they see one, they automatically think it’s something to be used only for Halloween and therefore shouldn’t be allowed NEAR their children. This pumpkin must never be brought into their homes lest it may corrupt their kids’ chinuch. It’s actually a little funny and sad at the same time.
Then we have the Vegans. The vegan people are Category E – yes –frum or not frum – these guys belong in a category all on their own 🙂
Veganism is becoming more and more popular in todays over processed, over sugared and over medicated American Society. However, I know this may come as a shock to you all, but Thanksgiving and Veganism just does not work! Tofurkey?! …I’ll repeat that — TOFURKEY?! It’s pure blasphemy! In my opinion, if you want to be healthy and/or stay away from the meat – then why try to pretend with tofu? We all know it’s just a lump of soy tofu mush – so who are we fooling?
And that pretty much sums up my analysis of Jews and Thanksgiving. On a slightly serious note, (just a slight one 🙂 ) I think it’s time we all realize what the day of Thanksgiving is truly about. The point of Thanksgiving is a day to recognize and acknowledge that which HaShem has given us – this beautiful and plentiful country of America. A country that allows us to be as frum (or not) as we wish. A country that allows us to vent and bitch as we wish and a country that allows us to wear our peyos as long as we want. Our ancestors would never be able to say the same thing – and for that – there’s nothing “past nisht” about having a meal to acknowledge this gift. (now, if we can only not get ourselves blown up by those darn terrorists )
So I say – enjoy the mashed potatoes, the pumpkin pie and Give Thanks to the greatest country!
Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!
Author, Designer, Creator (and secretary) of The 5 Pillars of Health. Duby educates the masses about health & wellness, saving the world one blog post at a time. In her spare time, she organizes rallies and protests against Tofurkey 🙂