November 22, 2017 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm #1409012
Why do Jews “celebrate” Thanksgiving? I mean I get the whole having an excuse to get together and have a nice meal, but dont we do that every Shabbos? And we give thanks to Hashem every moment of our lives and not just on one designated day.
Aside for that I know the people excuse of “its an American Holiday” and nothing connected to religion, but in fact it is. Many people dont know but it is traced as far back to the Greeks and Romans and also was practiced by the Catholics as there is a reason why they made it the last Thursday of the month since it fit best with their “prayers”.
Many year later in the United States the day was almost forgotten,Kennedy re instituted it in 1963 as a day of Thanksgiving. So whether American holiday or not, the roots are connected to another religion.November 22, 2017 1:16 pm at 1:16 pm #1409135
“but dont we do that every Shabbos? ”
Some of of have family that dont live walking distance, and some of us have family who dont drive on shabbos. So no we dont all get together every shabbos
Also your history lesson leaves a bit to be desired. Especially the bit about Kennedy coming back from the dead almost a week after his Nov 22 1963 assassination to celebrate Thanksgiving on November 28 1963.
(you probably meant Lincoln in 1863November 22, 2017 1:37 pm at 1:37 pm #1409147
The Agudah used to have their convention this weekend and they used to serve TurkeyNovember 22, 2017 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm #1409162
Avram in MDParticipant
The Agudah used to have their convention this weekend and they used to serve Turkey
Turkey means nothing unless it’s accompanied by jellied cranberries and the green bean/portabella mushroom casserole with fried onions on top. Did they serve those too?November 22, 2017 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm #1409160
As a side note I have never heard anyone until now claim thanksgiving was a Greco-Roman holiday. and it has nothing to do with the Catholics
The first thanksgiving involved Pilgrims who were far from Catholic and the Native AmericansNovember 22, 2017 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #1409214
Thia article says all you need to know. Very informative.November 22, 2017 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm #1409220
I dont know about the Fried Onions, but I heard they served Pumpkin Pie for DessertNovember 22, 2017 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #1409448
Zahavasdad- you need to practice on your comprehension, nowhere in my paragraph did I write any date or day that Kennedy celebrated Thanksgiving, I wrote that in that year he reinstituted the holiday. So no I did not mean lincoln. Also I’m not here to write a book about Thanksgiving origins I just wrote briefly so.
To all others who haven’t heard of Catholic roots and roots before the pilgrims, do some research on Google and you will find more than you think. A lot more.
So just because you “haven’t heard anyone mention this until now” is probably due to the fact that you don’t know everything in the world.November 22, 2017 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #1409493
“Also I’m not here to write a book about Thanksgiving origins I just wrote briefly so.”
” no I did not mean lincoln. ”
Thats a pity, since if you meant Lincoln at least there would be one sort of correct statement in your post.
It was Lincoln, not Kennedy who in 1863 not 1963 established a national holiday of thanksgiving. (The date was later changed by FDR) Neither Lincoln nor Kennedy “instituted it” after it was “forgotten” Many states had celebrated it for decades before Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday. New York did so in 1817.
You’re facts are simply wrong, it is very hard to research facts that you made up.November 22, 2017 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #1409498
I did a quick google about the “Catholic Origins” of thanksgiving and its pretty flimsy.
I suppose the idea of a giving thanks is older than the Pilgrims, but the Thanksgiving as celebrated in the US comes from the Pilgrims.
Turkey is an american Bird and was not known in Europe (Thats why there is some Halachic debate about its Kashruth)November 23, 2017 8:16 am at 8:16 am #1409601
Rav Miller zt’l
What would the Rav say that our attitude should be towards the holiday of Thanksgiving?
Our attitude is the same as it is towards any other gentile religious festival. Because that’s what Thanksgiving is. Even though Thanksgiving is accepted by the government authorities as a legal holiday, nevertheless, it is a religious holiday. If you would bother to look into the encyclopedias, where the kosher gentiles are speaking, you would become aware of this. In the encyclopedias the kosher gentiles are speaking and you can accept their testimony. The gentiles themselves say that Thanksgiving is a religious holiday. And therefore it is אסור, it’s forbidden, for a Jew to do anything that would distinguish this day from any other day.
And to eat turkey, in my humble opinion, would be אביזרייהו דעבודה זרה, an ancillary transgression of actual idol worship, and is included in the דין of יהרג ואל יעבור. And that would mean that you must be willing to give up your life before celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner. A person should do anything rather than participate in celebrating Thanksgiving because it’s like celebrating any other gentile religious day.
TAPE #38 (November 1973)November 23, 2017 9:32 am at 9:32 am #1409621
Rabbi Miller must have the same encyclopedia as LitvisherchossidNovember 23, 2017 10:16 am at 10:16 am #1409674
It’s amazing to what lengths people will go to avoid Thanksgiving. It is and has never been a religious holiday. In fact , the first official Thanksgiving had Jewish origins. President Washington wanted Congress to declare a national day of thanksgiving to thank G-d for the new U.S. Constitution. Southern Congressmen objected as they said such declarations were the actions of kings. They had just rebelled against a king and did not want Washington acting like one.
Roger Sherman , a Congressman from Connecticut arose and gave a different reason in support of the declaration. He said they were emulating King Solomon, not European kings . Just as Solomon thanked G-d for allowing him to build the Temple, they were thanking G-d for the Constitution. The southerners accepted his reasoning and voted for it.November 23, 2017 10:59 am at 10:59 am #1409736
@ubiquitin- you should be very careful before you open your filth against talmidei chachamim.November 23, 2017 11:19 am at 11:19 am #1409746
Wait, why is that opening “against” him?
I assume you have some encyclopedia that has an alternate history of Thanksgiving, And Rabbi Miller must have had the same encyclopedia.
Unless of course you have no such encyclopedia….November 23, 2017 11:38 am at 11:38 am #1409844
If he used Encyclopedia Brittanica he correctly related what it says. Do you dispute the EB?November 23, 2017 1:36 pm at 1:36 pm #1410097
Guys do what you want I honestly dont care at this point. I just wish you were so enthused about a “Jewish Yom Tov” as much as you are about a holiday that doesnt even come from your religion, whether its an american holiday or from a religion other than Judaism.November 23, 2017 1:36 pm at 1:36 pm #1410101
Btw what do you do during your “thanksgiving meal”? Do you say a prayer at the table? Do you hold hands? What are you giving thanks for was your life saved recently? IS this a seudas hodaya for anything specific? I mean they hold prayers at the church so maybe you can join them if youd like? I mean its not anything connected to religion they are just giving thanks so its probably not an issue right? Do they also hold prayer services for veterans day or labor day? Oh they dont? Why not?
Obviously everyone enjoys a meal but Thanksgiving is officially about giving thanks and prayers. I never saw that date(last Thurs in NOV.) in the Torah but maybe you have. I mean you know everything so please enlighten us.November 23, 2017 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm #1410089
Slonimer, im not sure if it was addressed to me.
“If he used Encyclopedia Brittanica”
who is he?
“he correctly related what it says”
Unless the “he” is me you are mistaken.
I do not have a print copy.
The online version states
“…The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “Thanksgivings,” days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought. The U.S. Continental Congress proclaimed a national Thanksgiving upon the enactment of the Constitution, for example. …Thanksgiving Day did not become an official holiday until Northerners dominated the federal government. …won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. The holiday was annually proclaimed by every president thereafter, and the date chosen, with few exceptions, was the last Thursday in November. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, attempted to extend the Christmas shopping season, which generally begins with the Thanksgiving holiday, and to boost the economy by moving the date back a week, to the third week in November. But not all states complied, and, after a joint resolution of Congress in 1941, Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November (which is not always the last Thursday) as Thanksgiving Day.”
(shortened for brevity)
“Do you dispute the EB?”
Me? No it says exactly what I said.November 23, 2017 1:44 pm at 1:44 pm #1410095
Lots of Americans dispute the Encyclopaedia Brittanica when it comes to AMERICAN things. It is not the authority on the USA and our traditions.
It is just after 1 PM
I have returned from our town’s high school football game between the two high schools. It was one of my last public functions as a member of Town government. I did not seek reelection this year and my term ends next week.
Our home smells from the aromas of cooking and baking, About 35 will be here at 2:30 to join in the Thanksgiving feast. In addition to some family it includes Jewish townspeople I don’t invite for Shabbos or Yuntif because I know they would drive.
We will wash, make motzi and offer Thanks (Benstchen), there will be nothing Christian about our celebration, just American celebrated by Jews thankful to live and enjoy life in the USA.
The ones who will be most thankful are guests who lived under the Communist regimes in Hungary and the USSR, glad to have been given political asylum here.November 23, 2017 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #1410226
ubiquitous – Apologies for my lack of clarity. Rabbi Miller’s reference to the encyclopedia on this topic correctly coincides with Brittanica’s description of Thanksgiving (in a 20 year old edition of EB that I saw – though I’m sure nothing changed in the last few years.) The free online edition of EB, I believe, is abridged. The full version may be available by subscription.
CTLawyer – Despite it’s name, Brittanica is a fully American owned, headquarted and published encyclopedia. Its first edition 150+ years ago was in Britain, hence its name, but its been all American for well over 100 years. And by well earned reputation it is considered the most authoritative American encyclopedia.
If you disagree you can edit Wikipedia to say whatever you want it to say. 😉November 23, 2017 3:33 pm at 3:33 pm #1410352
Again I dont ahve access to the print version. however what you describe isnt a longer version of wht Iquoted from Encyclopedia Britanica you “The free online edition of EB, I believe, is abridged” it is an entirely differnet version.
The “abridged” version is quite detailed and doesnt leave room for any Greco-Roman version of ThanksgivingNovember 23, 2017 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm #1410248
I belive Rav Moshe Permitted the celebrating of Thanksgiving and he THE PosekNovember 23, 2017 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #1410253
In general most non-jewish customs do not have “halachas” related to them to be Yotzei so other than eating Turkey , Watching Football and some family getting together for a few hours there really isnt any other Halachas or Minhagim one must do to celebrate thanksgiving and if you dont like Turkey or Football you dont have to do that eitherNovember 23, 2017 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #1410268
Litvish, where in the Torah does it talk about Medicaid, Section 8 , food stamps , aid to yeshivas etc? When it comes to them, we jump up and down screaming ” give me give me , I’m an American!!”. However when it comes to Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, I’m Jewish and they are the ways of the AmericansNovember 23, 2017 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #1410437
ubiquitous – Please reread my comment. I said that EB concurs with Rabbi Miller’s description, not (necessarily) with the OP’s description regarding Greco-Roman.November 23, 2017 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #1410459
Generally Rav Moshe attempted to issue a lenient ruling where so doing would prevent Yidden from transgressing. But that doesn’t mean the Rav holds leniency to be the best course as a rule…
There is no denying that Christians instituted the holiday of Thanksgiving to give thanks to their god (who they believe “choose” them in a new covenant and “unchoose” us yidden by the way). Regardless of which bird they ate, which King from the Tanach they based their celebrations on, who was or wasn’t invited to the first Thanksgiving feast and which President declared it a national holiday -the fact remains that Thanksgiving is a Gentile holiday made to honor a non-Jewish ‘god.’
Many Gentiles celebrate X-mas as a purely secular holiday; for them, X-mas has zero religious significance. Obviously X-mas is a holiday with Christian origins made to honor a non-Jewish ‘god.’ No frum Yid would say X-mas is lahavdil kosher because “For me it’s a secular national holiday without any religious meaning.”
Halloween is a purely pagan holiday. In fact some branches of Christianity are against celebrating Halloween. Yet it’s obviously not proper (and according to the most Rabbonim forbidden) to celebrate Halloween.
As Yidden our Mesorah is and always has been to refrain from partaking in Gentile holiday celebrations. There are a few reasons for that. One is that doing so blurs the lines of separation between Yidden and Gentiles. Another is because Hashem our G-d and the G-d of the universe gave us Yidden all the days for celebration He saw fit to give, and these are all the Yomim Tovim/Chagim we need. We should not appear to take on the holidays of the Gentiles, as if our own mesorah Chas V’shalom lacks something.November 23, 2017 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #1410571
“ubiquitous – Please reread my comment”
Please reread mine. I dont have access to EB print SO I dont know one way or another what it says.
I do have access to the online version which does provide a detailed history and does not leave room for a Greco-Roman origin, (Im not sure why you are waffling on what EB says Why “necessarily” in parenthesis?) nor does it provide a religious significance (other than generic thanking God).
Now If as you say online EB is an abridgment of the print version the it says nothing that you claim it does. IF it is entirely different. Again as it very well may be then I simply do not know.
I do know that there is no online source that I cna dig up, so even if their is one print source from 20 yers ago with some other history of thanksgiving. Thsi would explain where Rabbi Miller got his mistaken history from, but that wouldn’t make it correct.November 23, 2017 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #1410617
slonimer: and that is why many people do not use Wikipedia as a valid source reference. It can be edited by anybody…..even if he or she does not not know anything about the subject.November 23, 2017 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #1410620
iacisrmma – I referenced Encyclopedia Brittanica, not Wikipedia. (My Wikipedia comment was a joke.)November 23, 2017 8:56 pm at 8:56 pm #1410711
I don’t care who owns EB at this time. It is not the authority on most anything.
Encyclopedias have outlived their usefulness with the advent of the internetNovember 23, 2017 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #1410715
The internet is more reliable than Encyclopedia Brittanica?
Is that how y’all been unaware of the religious background of Thanksgiving?November 24, 2017 9:09 am at 9:09 am #1410881
I did NOT use the word reliable. I talked about outliving usefulness. Most articles in encyclopedias are years old. New research, discoveries and theories are brought out every day on the internet.November 24, 2017 9:11 am at 9:11 am #1410878
“The internet is more reliable than Encyclopedia Brittanica?”
It depends what you mean by “the interet”
As you may know the internet is “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.” it isnt in of itself reliable or unreliable.
You ask if the internt is more relaibale than Encyclopedia Brittanica? Well EB is on the internet. so your question is if Encyclopedia Britannica + PBS online + history channel + a variety of Historical societies + variety of historical journals are all together more reliable than Encyclopedia Britannica alone. And obviously the answer is of course.
“Is that how y’all been unaware of the religious background of Thanksgiving?”
Yep nobody besides Rabbi Miller and slonimer has had access to EB. surprisingly even EB doesnt have access to what they say in the print versionNovember 24, 2017 9:26 am at 9:26 am #1410900
Lol. What new information about the origins of Thanksgiving have been discovered since the “advent of the internet”?November 24, 2017 10:19 am at 10:19 am #1410926
Rav Moshe Z’l permitted someone to join a Thanksgiving “celebration” and eat turkey since in his opinion it is a national, not religious holiday (he uses the term, it is not found in their religious books). Rav Gifter I believe agreed. Rav Hutner Z’l was very much against celebrating thanksgiving.
In our family, if we manage to qualify for the shoprite promo for “free” turkey, we get one and save it for an off shabbos when everyone is home. It is usually shabbos chanuka.November 26, 2017 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm #1411707
I celebrate Thanksgiving, but not in the way you think.
We don’t have a feast or turkey or anything on Thursday night (I don’t like turkey anyway). However, since I have off from work that day and the next and I enjoy cooking, I spend two days cooking and making big meals for family and guests to come for the seudos of Shabbos.
So, if you view Thanksgiving positively, you could say that I’m putting the day off to good use. If you view Thanksgiving negatively, you can say that I’m polluting my Shabbos Kodesh with it. I’ll let you decide which one is appropriate.
The WolfNovember 26, 2017 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm #1411766
I grew up in the retail business.
My father owned 15 clothing stores
His brother owned a furniture store
My mother’s sister and her husband owned a TV/Appliance store
Thanksgiving was the last chance for a family gathering before January 1. Every possible working hour was spent in the stores after Thanksgiving.
We gave thanks for the shopping habits of the Goyim that would enrich us and allow us to pay for our schooling, shuls, homes, etc. that would be made in the coming 5-6 weeks.
As for Turkey, I roast one every Sunday year round, so it’s no big deal. however, all the extras, stuffing, corn kugel, mashed potatoes, vegetables, pies are extra special and enjoyed by the family.
We are no longer in the retail business, but some of the nices/nephews and spouses are and this is the last free time we can get together.
In January, we all start taking breaks ion the sun and really only gather again as a whole family for Pesach at the CTL compound.November 26, 2017 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm #1411881
Thanksgiving was the last chance for a family gathering before January 1.
I have no problems with people who celebrate Thanksgiving. The fact that we don’t do anything special “bo bayom” should not be construed as an objection to other people celebrating.
The WolfNovember 28, 2017 7:42 pm at 7:42 pm #1414808
Theres nothing wrong with thanksgiving. Its an american holiday, like july 4. Many people I know celebrate thanksgiving.November 28, 2017 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm #1414908
ever heard of לא תלך בחוקות הגויים? or בחוקותיהם לא תלכו?
religion or not.November 29, 2017 6:16 am at 6:16 am #1414952
Litvish, I addressed your chukas goim point but yo ignored it. Why do we claim to be Americans when it comes to voting, Medicaid, Section 8 , aid to yeshivas but we’re Jews, not Americans when it comesto national secular holidays?November 29, 2017 7:06 am at 7:06 am #1414966
you say religion or not.
You ave already demonstrated that you dont know much about thanksiving, you are comin g dan gerously close to showin g tat you dont know muc about halacha either.
See Rema in YD hilchos chukas akum, religion or not. is what determines if it is assur or not
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