Friday, October 20, 2006

A Different Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving happens at the end of November in America, but in our settlement a different kind of thanksgiving feast happened last night.

Twenty-five men from our yishuv serving in the IDF, in the regular forces and in the reserves, received a Tzav 8 (call-up) during the Lebanon war this summer. Some went down to Gaza, some served in Judea and Samaria, but the majority went up north and crossed the border in order to defend the citizens of Israel against the Hizballah terrorists.

Wives, parents, siblings, and friends all prayed very hard for their safety and spent some very anxious weeks. Thank G-d, at the end of the war, every single one of these men came back safe and sound.

It is a tradition that when a miracle happens, the person that experiences it makes a public Seudat Hodaya (Thanksgiving meal). This way G-d's miracles can be publicized to as many people as possible, and it gives the person a concrete way to express his feelings of gratitude. Multiply this by twenty-five, and you can imagine the happiness at this meal.

A well respected Rabbi was asked to give a Torah lesson first. He spoke about the Jewish sources for the importance of morale when fighting a war. He said that not only is it important to know that you can win a war, but that you have the right to do so. This knowledge is sorely lacking in some sectors of our our society.

The Rabbi or our yishuv spoke also. He explored the topic of acknowledging G-d's involvement in every aspect of our lives. When a miracle happens it is easy to see this, and the desire to make a Seudat Hodaya is natural, but on a regular basis we won't see it if we don't actively look for it.

May we all merit to see both miracles, and Hashem's everyday help in our lives.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

....Amen, WBM ...

2:44 PM, October 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not easy, I will say, to see God's miracles. Especially when something tragic happens to you or loved ones... but that doesn't mean they're not there all the same. Maybe we just don't see them till later- if we keep looking, that is.
I am so grateful for you and those families that not one man was lost- yes, indeed, something to be thankful for!

5:28 PM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger Jenifer said...

The fact that we breathe, can think and reason, and have been blessed with people to love and who love us are all the daily miracles of the One who loves and watches over us. Even in sorrow, He still reveals His character of faithfulness.

I love this tradition of a Seudat Hodaya. What a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing and giving thanks even on your blog!

11:08 PM, October 21, 2006  
Blogger bec said...

bH, they all came back safely, and the rabbi is so right, we certainly have the right to win wars. i'll even go so far as to say that we have a moral obligation to humanity to win the wars in which we are (unfortunately) engaged.
the last time we were in israel, we met this wonderful young rabbi who made the point that "things happen, you just have to be open to them." once you open yourself up to the possibility and reality of daily miracles, big and small, you begin to see them taking shape and actually happening. even when we say morning brochot we are showing our gratitude for these miracles that we seem to take for granted. it isn't until we risk the possibility of personally missing out on any of these miracles, do we acknowledge how truly grateful we are.
thank you for reminding us that we need to actively search for these miracles and be truly grateful.

6:38 AM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

Erica - you said it!

regina - it was a very tense time.

jenifer - being grateful every day should be as natural as breathing - but sometimes complaining comes more naturally!

bec - not only is it an obligation to be grateful but it adds to our own happiness too

4:50 PM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger Batya said...

Here in Shiloh we, parents and "spice" (plural of spouse) organized a giant seudat shlishit and invited the entire yishuv.

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