This Thanksgiving, Eat Gefilta Fish Instead
Tzvi FishmanBefore making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter....
This year, give the turkey to the dogs. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a gentile holiday. The Pilgrims started it, and the gentiles in America made it their traditional celebration over religious freedom.
In “The Laws of Idolatry and the Statutes of the Heathens” (chapter 11:1), the Rambam writes: “We should not follow the customs of the gentiles… as it says, ‘And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation which I cast out before you’ (Vayikra, 20:23) and, ‘neither shall you walk in their statutes’ (there, 18:3). Furthermore, the Torah warns, ‘Take heed to yourself that you not be ensnared to follow after them’ (Devarim, 12:30). These verses all refer to one theme and warn against imitating them, as it says, ‘I have set you apart from the peoples’” (Vayikra, 20:26).
While some rabbis in America ruled that Thanksgiving was a secular holiday and permitted Jews to stuff themselves with stuffing, the eminent Rabbi Yitzhak Hutner ruled otherwise.
Rabbi Hutner argues that the establishment of an annual holiday that is based on the Christian calendar is, at the very least, closely associated with idol worship and thus prohibited. Such a celebration becomes a "holiday" through the creation of an annual observance and celebrating Gentile holidays is obviously wrong. Rabbi Hutner concludes: "In truth, one must distance oneself from these types of customs and even from those events that are similar to these types of customs . . . The truth is simple and obvious."
How many Bernies fell in love with Brigettes after being invited to their Thanksgiving feasts, and dizzy with their poisonous wine, ended up in bed with the forbidden shicksa while the Packers-Lions football game blasts away on the TV downstairs in the playroom?
Jews don’t need Thanksgiving. Every day, we start out the morning by thanking G-d (modeh ani) for granting us another day on this planet. After every meal we eat, we thank G-d for the food and for giving us Eretz Yisrael. After every pretzel, Coke, Hershey Bar, and glass of water, we thank G-d for creating all the things that we need. After going to the bathroom, we thank G-d for keeping our bodies in proper working order. On the Shabbat, we chant the prayer of thanksgiving “Nishmat Kol Chai,” thanking G-d for everything in the universe. A Jew’s whole life is one endless thanksgiving. So who needs to make a big deal about the last Thursday in November? If you want to waste your time watching the Macy’s Day Parade and a football game, be my guest, but throw away the turkey. Eat gefilta fish instead.