Thanksgiving in the Midst of Real Life
Shabbat Parashat Chayyey Sarah
Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh
November 26, 2016 – 25 Cheshvan 5777
Thanksgiving weekend is a time filled with hopes and dreams melded together with a conscious attempt to encourage us to express gratitude for the blessings in life. It is an important time because sometimes the reality of life, and particularly of life’s challenges, may threaten to overshadow our sense of gratitude.
In this week’s parsha, Abraham holds firmly to his belief in God’s promises even though God’s promises had not even nearly come to fruition. God promised Abraham the Land, and God promised that, through Isaac, Abraham would become the “father of a multitude.” Abraham takes God’s promises to heart and works toward turning the promises into reality – one step at a time. He is thankful, even as he faced life’s challenges.
Speaking of promises as yet not completely fulfilled, for the past four days, a huge number of fires have been raging in Israel – in the very Land that God promised us. It is believed that many of the fires currently destroying and threatening so many areas of Israel have been set by those who oppose the Jewish State of Israel. In the midst of this disturbing reality, we can be strengthened by the story of Abraham’s faith and gratitude for God’s blessings, even as he was called upon to work very hard to turn God’s promises to reality, step by step. Abraham was not deterred and neither should we be deterred just because there is work to be done in order to ensure the fulfillment of God’s promises.
This week, we can donate to a special fund to help alleviate the damage caused by these most recent fires in Israel. And let us remember that our ability to act is, in itself, a blessing!
This Shabbat we will recite the blessing for the new Jewish month of Kislev! Rosh Chodesh Kislev will be this Wednesday night and Thursday! May it be a month of dedication, of gratitude, and of joy!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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