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Pardon Me Dear Turkey

Wednesday, 24 November, 2010 - 11:59 am

Many around the world are very busy getting their turkey primed and ready. The stuffing, the cranberry, who is hosting whom, who is preparing which dish, it is a very busy time in many households. Not to mention, the critical rush to be the first on line for Black Friday.

Giving thanks, has become an American tradition, perhaps the most widely observed of all our US holidays. And for good reason. We all have what to be thankful for, even during the toughest of times, if we haven't found something, we just haven't looked hard enough.

I recently heard that the roots of the "Presidential Pardon" of the Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony, dates back to Abe Lincoln's pardoning the royal turkey as his son Tad had grown fond of the turkey and now considered it like a family pet.

So who pardons and who is pardoned? Naturally, depending on your religion, faith and level of observance you will get different answers to this question. However, as we take stock for what we have good in our lives and what has not gone so well, as we munch on a turkey scorned, let us remember, that as Jews, we have a unique approach to these major life issues.

G-d in His infinite wisdom decides "who will live, who die, who will be rich and who will be poor," (High Holiday Prayers) and to some degree we play a role in His decisions, "repentance, prayer, good deeds avert the severity of the decree" (More High Holiday Prayers). And to some degree we are forced to submit and surrender to a higher power and accept His will and ways. Much of the good in our lives is unearned and seemingly undeserved as well as much of the challenges of life is seeming unearned and undeserved.

But unlike the "lucky" pardoned Turkey that just happened to be at the right place and at the right time, we believe in a higher power, that is monitoring and is on top of what is taking place in our life and nothing, nothing, both bad and good is random.

Its a tough pill to swallow at times, but it is comforting and soothing yet the same to know that their is a Divine parent monitoring things and it is not just random.

Something to think about as your are basting your turkey.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Rabbi Schusterman

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