Well, it’s official. Thanksgiving? Originates from Sukkot. The question is, does that make the holiday kosher or does that fact that right-wing Christians (yes, the Puritans were the Quiverfulls of their day) appropriated and Christianized the holiday make it treyf*? Not only is Thanksgiving based on Sukkot, notes the Jewish Journal, but the parallels between Jews and pilgrims abound:
The Puritan Christians who landed on American shores seeking religious freedom were called pilgrims, in deference to their journey from
. Their dream of finding a place where they’d be free to worship as they pleased is a recurrent theme in Jewish history. After their pilgrimage to England , the ancient Israelites lived for a week in temporary huts while giving thanks for a plentiful harvest. Likewise, during their first winter in Jerusalem , the pilgrims dwelled in makeshift huts, wigwams that the Indians helped them build. Massachusetts
Danny Sims, a Christian minister from
The AJC has a podcast on the connection between Sukkot and Thanksgiving, which is more of an advertisement for a reader they put out highlighting the diversity of
Joseph Farah’s article, originally posted on World Net Daily, decries the divorce of Thanksgiving from its spiritual and theological roots (it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas).
Yet, there is no way to divorce the spiritual from the celebration of Thanksgiving – at least not the way the Pilgrims envisioned it, a tradition dating back to the ancient Hebrews and their feasts of Succoth and Passover.
Undeterred by the failure of their first approach to economy in the new world, a form of socialism that failed miserably according to the article, they embraced capitalism and, guided by the hand of God, had a plentiful harvest. They set up trading posts with the Indians and started life devoted to free enterprise and God.
But it wasn't just an economic system that allowed the Pilgrims to prosper. It was their devotion to God and His laws. And that's what Thanksgiving is really all about. The Pilgrims recognized that everything we have is a gift from God – even our sorrows. Their Thanksgiving tradition was established to honor God and thank Him for His blessings and His grace.
Fairytale is my favorite genre, too, but at least he agrees that the holiday has biblical roots.
Subversive Influence has a post on Sukkot in relation to Thanksgiving, which you really need to read to believe. I gather Brother Maynard, who writes the blog, is some form of Christian, but damned if I can describe what. Not only does Thanksgiving have biblical roots, according to Maynard, but it’s still part of a vibrant tradition of connecting to God through harvest. Neat.
And lastly, something entirely different: for information on the history of turkey, check out the Oxford University Press, who posted an article by Andrew Smith called “A Traditional American Thanksgiving.” Highly informative, even though it has nothing to do with Sukkot or God.
In answer to my original question, I think Thanksgiving is like swordfish: maybe it’s kosher, maybe it’s not, but it sure is delicious.
*treyf: not kosher