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.