Thanksgiving: Church Holiday

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  • #593168

    goodbye
    Member

    In 1789, President George Washington issued a general proclamation naming November 26 a day of National Thanksgiving. At the same time that year, the PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH announced that the first Thursday in November would be set aside YEARLY for giving thanks. In 1888 the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH formally recognized the day.

    The religious aspect of the first Thanksgiving celebration is obvious in this passage from the first Thanksgiving Proclamation, June 20th, 1676 [where it mentions JC]:

    “The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God’s Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being persuaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by J—S C—-T.”

    Stay away from the serious issue of ‘chukois hagoy’ by NOT celebrating ‘Thanksgiving’; especially not with turkey etc.

    #1146197

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    🙂

    #1146198

    twisted
    Participant

    quite amazing how they communicated in “English?”

    #1146200

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    I have to say that I am always amused and bewildered by the fact that in this “season” each year, hundreds of millions of xtians spend BILLIONS of dollars to celebrate (what they think is) the birthday of a Jew (albeit a navi sheker), – and yet, (so many of them) continue to be anti-Semitic.

    #1146201

    telegrok
    Member

    I had similar qualms about celebrating Thanksgiving, but then I saw so many kosher turkeys in my grocer’s freezer, I figured, if the hashgochos are approving such an increase in turkey production prior to Thanksgiving, they must de facto approve of the holiday.

    Can’t wait to tuck into some turkey and cornbread stuffing!

    #1146202

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    It should be noted that the Thanksgiving proclamation noted above from 1676 has the celebration happening in June, not November.

    I am not convinced that that Thanksgiving celebration has anything to do with the current one. Certainly there were times that Christians had celebrations of giving thanks at various points in their history. Just because one group at one time had such a feast doesn’t mean that (a) it is related to the modern day incarnation of the holiday and (b) that it is forbidden for Jews to do so.

    Washington’s proclamation of Thanksgiving was, likewise, a one time event. Thanksgiving was actually instituted as an American holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and has been observed each year since then. The indication of the Christian deity in his proclamation is where he identifies the year of the proclamation, using the phrase “year of our Lord..,” which was merely common usage without any actual religious significance at the time.

    Recognition of the holiday by the Roman Catholic church (or any other for that matter) is beside the point. If the RC church decided to recognize Independence Day tomorrow, would you tell everyone to stop flying their flags?

    The Wolf (who doesn’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving — or any other day simply because he doesn’t like it.)

    EDITED

    #1146204

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Thanksgiving, a day to eat turkey and watch football. Atheists love it.

    #1146205

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Thanksgiving, a day to eat turkey and watch football. Atheists love it.

    I guess I’m in trouble no matter what, then. I don’t eat turkey and I’m not a football fan.

    The Wolf

    #1146206

    cantoresq
    Member

    Rabbi Michael Broyde authored a comprehensive analysis of the issue. He cites both sides of the debate, and essentially concludes that there is upon whom to rely in allowing a celebration of the holiday.

    #1146207

    myfriend
    Member

    Professor Broyde surely makes some interesting academic observations on the matter. But for halachic conclusions, we rely on Rabbonim.

    #1146210

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Myfriend,

    how about actually answering cantoresq’s point.

    IOW, if you have a problem with Rabbi Brodye’s opinion on the matter, how about showing us where he’s wrong.

    The Wolf

    EDITED

    #1146211

    cantoresq
    Member

    Myfriend,

    Rabbi Broyde cites various “Rabbonim,” to use your term, who are matir Thanksgiving observances. Certainly there is no Jewish obligation to celebrate the day. But that’s a far cry from ever being pejorative of those who allow such activity, which is what you were with your post.

    EDITED

    #1146214

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I like turkey. (That’s the only part of this discussion I’m interested in.)

    #1146215

    yechezkel89
    Member

    my friend, if you were to know a 100th of what Harav Broyde knows then you would be in good shape. I hope you are aware of the ???? in :??????? ?? that states that anyone who belittles a talmid chachom is an apikoris

    #1146216

    cherrybim
    Participant

    We celebrate Thanksgiving by using the extra time allotted by the day off to cook a delicious Turkey with all the trimmings for our Shabbos meal the following evening.

    #1146217

    tzippi
    Member

    Scratching my head here. My BY had a menahel (shlit”a) who was mekurav to one of the gedolei hador. I can’t remember a single year that at least one teacher didn’t say that while we should be grateful every day it is good to have a day to focus on living in this malchus shel chesed, if we had to be somewhere else besides E”Y.

    That said, we didn’t celebrate because my father was makpid on not eating a heavy fleishig meal so close to Shabbos, unless it was a real yom tov.

    But I’ve heard repeatedly that there’s nothing wrong with getting together with family if this a time that is convenient. And think of all the people with non observant family who all have off at the same time and can find a nice, neutral day to get together.

    #1146218

    myfriend
    Member

    yechez89 – you’re the guy who was mevaze Rav Yosef B. Soloveitchek, so I won’t be taking any lectures from you. As you said, that makes you what you described. Prof. Broyde is a former pulpit rabbi, current professor at Emory, and anyone with semicha is not Daas Torah. He uses academic methodologies, not halachic ones in his essays.

    tzippi – Use any Sunday instead.

    #1146219

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    and anyone with semicha is not Daas Torah.

    Paint with a broad brush much?

    He uses academic methodologies, not halachic ones in his essays.

    The methodologies are not as important as the results. Once again, I ask you to show me where he was wrong.

    The Wolf

    #1146220

    myfriend
    Member

    The following is a quote from Igros Moshe, authored by Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l.

    ??”? ????? ??? ??? ??”? ? ???? ? ?”? ?????

    ????? ????? – ???????, ??? ????? ???? ?????? ???”? ?”? ???”? ???? ?”?, ???? ????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ????, ?????? ?? ???? ????????, ??? ????? ??? ?? ??? ??????. ??? ????? ???? ?????? ????? ????? – ???????, ?? ????? ????? ?????

    Explanation:

    Rav Moshe was entertaining the possibility that it would even be forbidden to make a LEGITIMATE Simcha, like a Bar-Mitzvah or Chasunah celebration on Thanksgiving, since it would APPEAR that one is celebrating Thanksgiving!

    To THAT Rav Moshe writes that it isn’t forbidden according to the letter of the law, but still a Ba’al Nefesh shouldn’t do so!

    Then Rav Moshe continues and writes that celebrating or making a Seudah SPECIFICALLY for Thanksgiving is CERTAINLY FORBIDDEN. (???? ?? ????? ?????)

    To summarize:

    One is forbidden to celebrate Thanksgiving or make a special Seudah in its honor!

    However, to schedule a legitimate Simcha, like a Bar-Mitzvah or Chasunah, on Thanksgiving, is Halachikly permitted but a Ba’al Nefesh shouldn’t do even that, and should rather reschedule his legitimate Simcha for some other day!

    Accordingly, it would be forbidden to eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

    Because if it is being eaten as a full meal; it is clearly forbidden, since it falls under the category of making a Seudah.

    #1146221

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    The first time all colonists celebrated a Thanksgiving was in 1777, when they beat the British in a battle.

    In 1789, George Washington declared a national Thanksgiving day; but it met much opposition:

    First because, why should the problems of a few pilgrims merit a national holiday?

    #1146222

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    The first official national Thanksgiving holiday was declared by President Lincoln in 1863. These were his words:

    #1146223

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    Jews do not celebrate religious holidays decreed by Chukas Goyim.

    Jews celebrate holidays from the Torah or those ordained by Chazal.

    The other holidays, besides December 25 and January 1, are civil American holidays.

    #1146224

    tzippi
    Member

    Myfriend, not nogeiah to me, but some people would need Sunday to drive back through the woods and over the river.

    #1146225

    goodbye
    Member

    R’ Moshe definitely did forbid celebrating Thanksgiving, because of his opinion that there is a general prohibition to add any set day to the calendar that wasn’t put there by the Tora or Chazal. R’ Moshe’s issur was even with the assumption that Thanksgiving was NOT a church holiday, per se`. Rav Avigdor Miller paskened, though, that based on historical fact, Thanksgiving IS a church holiday – the PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH announced in 1789 (much before Lincoln) that Thursday in November would be set aside YEARLY for giving thanks – and is therefore a complete issur to celebrate. Rav Miller got the info from an Encyclopedia…

    #1146226

    cantoresq
    Member

    Myfriend, your reliance one but one responsum of R. Moshe Feinstein is flawed in light of R. Broydes analysis of the entire corpus of R. Moshe’s statements on the subject. Moreover, R. Yosef dov Soleveitchik, R. Ephraim Greenblatt and R. Eliezer Silver are all matir.

    #1146227

    ronrsr
    Member

    I always thought of Thanksgiving as the most Jewish of holidays. The early settlers were trying to celebrate Succoth, and what could be more Jewish than gratitude?

    #1146228

    ronrsr
    Member

    To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island.

    Gentlemen,

    While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

    The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and happy people.

    The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

    It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

    G. Washington

    #1146229

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    QuestionForYou,

    A simple question: You call Thanksgiving a religious holiday because Washington and Lincoln decided to mention God in the proclamations. This, according to your reasoning, makes it a religious holiday and therefore forbidden to celebrate. (Please correct me if I’m wrong in my assessment of your position.)

    That being said, do you refrain from handling United States currency because it says “In God We Trust.” Perhaps the money should be forbidden as idolatrous objects?

    Why does the mention of God in the Thanksgiving proclamations make Thanksgiving idolatrous in nature, but the mention of “In God We Trust” on the money does not make it idolatrous in nature?

    The Wolf

    #1146230

    goodbye
    Member

    “I always thought of Thanksgiving as the most Jewish of holidays. The early settlers were trying to celebrate Succoth, and what could be more Jewish than gratitude?”

    Ronsr, nothing could be more Jewish; but the Jews already have a Succos! The gentiles can have their Succos whenever they want, but ours is when the Tora commands it!

    #1146231

    yechezkel89
    Member

    my freind I never chas v’sha;om insulted Harav Soloveitchik ZL, the Rav was matir celebrating thankgiving out of hakaras hatov for what america has done for us. it has no religious implications, it’s just a day to show hakaras hatov. and again if everyone knew as much torah as Harav Broyde then we would all be in good shape

    #1146232

    cherrybim
    Participant

    What if you buy a Thanksgiving turkey but have kavanah for Chanukah instead. Does that make the turkey pigul and you’re, therefore, not yotze Thanksgiving with this turkey?

    #1146233

    Homeowner
    Member

    Wolf,

    You are right. American money is avodah zarah. Give me all of yours so you sin no longer.

    As I was taught to say in the Borough Park yeshiva I attended,

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

    #1146234

    so right
    Member

    Did they also teach you to say merry kratsmich?

    #1146235

    Homeowner
    Member

    so right, no, but while we’re getting personal, on yom tov, do you say the prayer for the government (the one that begins “ha’nosayn teshuos”) or have you composed one for Al Qaeda?

    #1146237

    ronrsr
    Member

    but, dear goodbye, the Torah doesn’t prohibit us from taking another day in, say, November and using it to focus on our bounty, and express our gratitude for it.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all, I hope you all have much to be thankful for!

    #1146238

    goodbye
    Member

    Ronsr, I’ll take R’ Moshe’s opinion on that over yours any day.

    As I wrote before: “R’ Moshe definitely did forbid celebrating Thanksgiving, because of his opinion that there is a general prohibition to add ANY set day to the calendar (even for a good reason) that wasn’t put there by the Tora or Chazal. R’ Moshe’s issur was even with the assumption that Thanksgiving was NOT a church holiday, per se`.”

    #1146239

    Josh31
    Member

    “Accordingly, it would be forbidden to eat turkey on Thanksgiving.”

    Other Teshuvos have come out that are not as strict.

    But according to the Moshe Rose wing of this coffee room, even using Kaylim (utensils) that had come in contact with turkey in the past are prohibited on the fourth Thursday of November.

    #1146240

    LBK
    Participant

    Maybe a stupid question, but if R’ Moshe held that a Ben Torah shouldn’t make any simchos on thanksgiving, because of the appearance, then why is the Agudah Convention on thanksgiving every year? Isn’t there at least an appearance to some that this is a celebration of thanksgiving?

    #1146241

    so right
    Member

    The Agudah convention is not a seuda or simcha.

    And Rav Moshe said that a Baal Nefesh shouldn’t make a simcha on Thanksgiving (since someone might think he is celebrating Thanksgiving); not that its assur outright to make a Chasunah or Bar Mitzvah on that day.

    #1146242

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    You’re absolutely right, Wolf. Please give away all of your money, so that you don’t have to handle idolatrous objects.

    That having been said, Thanksgiving is called a religious holiday, because Washington and Lincoln declared it as a religious holiday;

    “That we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions. . .”

    “To set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. . .”

    What does designating a special day to thank their god sound like to you?

    Besides the fact that we don’t celebrate non-Jewish religious holidays, don’t we thank Hashem every day for all of the kindnesses he does for us? Without needing a special day to do it?

    #1146243

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Thanksgiving is American as apple pie. The vast majority of celebrants don’t connect any religious philosophies to the day of football, parade and fressing and will shrug their shoulders when asked if and how they celebrate.

    And I would say that we are m’kadesh the day by having both the Agudah and OU Conventions on Thanksgiving, an in-gathering of numerous Rabbonim and Torah leaders in one place. Wow if for that alone, then it’s worth having Thanksgiving, Dayeinu!

    #1146244

    goodbye
    Member

    Supporting Jewish celebration of Thanksgiving doesn’t make you a patriot, and opposing it doesn’t make you less of a patriot. There’s a halachic issue here which patriotic Americans like me are concerned about. Thanksgiving – though as American as apple pie – IS a church holiday.

    So, as much fun it may be to celebrate, we have to recognize the Church origins of these goyishe celebrations!

    #1146245

    shmoolik 1
    Participant

    is there a problem with cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes

    it is an opportunity to share a meal with non observant relatives who otherwise would visit on days that it is asur to travel

    #1146246

    wanderingchana
    Participant

    For some reason I am reminded of a picture of a frum family in Israel walking down the street on Purim, every single member dressed in red suits with furry white trim.

    Carry on. (munch munch – mmmm, Empire turkey)

    #1146247

    goodbye
    Member

    Shmoolik, what’s wrong with chicken/meat and rice/potatoes?

    #1146248

    twisted
    Participant

    I think Washington was one cool guy. He could have been a respected Maggid if born and raised in a different place. On turkeys, I did some reading that raised alarms in my poor head. The modern bird, like its chicken cousin is raised in time and conditions to be mass market profitable. This means a chicken from hatch to market can take no more than seven weeks. The turkeys obviously take somewhat longer, but still rushed so that the weight gain outstrips other critical development, and this leads to a not insignifigant number of birds with underdeveloped circulatory and nervous systems relative to the weight ( non walking and heart attack prone). They are also bred to be front heavy, and due to this, they cannot mate normally, production is completely dependent on AI. I asked a rov about the possible treifa safek, and he did not dismiss it as of zero concern. You would assume that the kashrus operator would screen out sickly specimens, but in the modern mechanized high speed rotary set up with the birds hanging, (and perhaps hung up by a stam worker, is there not room for errors and concern?

    #1146249

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Didn’t Rav Moshe have multiple teshuvos on Thanksgiving?

    In honor of the coffeeroom fanatics, we aren’t having Turkey on Thursday. We are going to my vegetarian cousins so we are having Baskin Robbins Turkey ice cream cake instead. Turkey will be for Shabbos in heilige Lakewood. Because it was uber cheap 🙂

    #1146250

    wanderingchana
    Participant

    Baskin Robbins Turkey ice cream cake? Please tell me that’s not the flavor! 😛

    #1146251

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Its just the shape 🙂

    #1146252

    I have not been on in a while but saw this topic and wanted to clarify something. Read anything from that time, almost anything, and it will have the word “G-d” or another religious term. Read the declaration of independence- “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by THEIR CREATOR with certain unalienable rights…” and that’s just off the cuff…I am sure if I thought harder I would find more.

    Try saying that today in government offices- it was the way they spoke back then. So, all references to religion have to be put into context.

    Thanksgiving is a day just to thank the govt for allowing us to live here. No religious connotations, especially today. Say thank you USA for being a medina of chessed…

    And goodbye- when have people ever taken a transliteration as fact? Israel as a country with its own secular calendar has not been around all that long. I am not saying it isn’t about Sylvester (the cat…=)) but find a better proof. And the 25th and 1st is a whole lot different than Thanksgiving- hey, only in AMERICA do they celebrate turkey day!?!?! Not even where the Anglican Church was founded do they celebrate it! (most cultures do celebrate the 25/1st, so that is different.) It can’t be a church holiday if 3/4 of those who belong to the religion (probably less than 3/4 are american) dont observe it!

    Just a couple of points from someone who is thankful not to have been kicked out of this country yet… and happens to like turkey with cranberry sauce.

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